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Winchester Drunk Driving Attorneys

What should you do when you are pulled over by the police for drunk driving?

As with any collision, medical attention comes first, even if you were under the influence of alcohol. If you were involved in a collision, you also have the right to remain silent, and we highly recommend that you do not discuss how the collision occurred, even with the police, before you have discussed it with your defense attorney. Contact our Winchester drunk driving attorneys today.

Rules of the Road and the Laws Regarding Blood Alcohol Content

There is a universally understood duty of care that all road users give to one another when they operate their vehicles on U.S. roads. While not everyone understands the terminology, per se, they do know that they are obligated to act in a reasonably careful and prudent fashion. Similar to this duty of care are other unwritten rules to the road. One such rule is the implied consent that we all give to submit to breath or blood testing to determine our Blood Alcohol Levels (BACs) when we are pulled over by law a enforcement agent. The standard procedure is to use a breathalyzer, though an officer may take a blood sample if you are unable to provide a breath test. If the test reveals that your BAC is 0.08 or higher, you will be arrested and taken to jail. And, for drivers under the age of 21 with BACs of greater than 0.02 percent, they will be arrested and taken to jail. Arresting a drunk driver is possibly one of the most satisfying arrests an officer can make because they know they are doing their job by making the roads safer, according to WHSV. In 1990, alcohol was involved in 50 percent of all Virginia auto collisions, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. In 2015, that percentage was down to 32, due to driving advocate groups, public ideology changes, and police work. Full cooperation with the police can make the process of  DUI arrest smoother and more easy to manage in the long run.

You Must Submit to Alcohol Content Testing

When you are pulled over, you must cooperate fully with the police officer. You must show your driver’s license and insurance information. Do not refuse to take a breathalyzer, as this will only cause you more problems in the future, and possibly a longer suspension of your Virginia driver’s license. Refusal of certain alcohol content tests is a crime in our state. However, because drunk driving is also a serious crime, you have the right to plead the fifth amendment and remain silent, as your Miranda rights state.

You have the right to speak with your attorney before discussing anything with the police. Later, we can assist you in figuring out which tests you should and should not take, including tests that you should and should not request. Because of this, it is in your best interests to contact an experienced Winchester DUI defense attorney at Simms Showers, LLP at your soonest convenience if you have been arrested for DUI. We are prepared to help you today.

How a Breathalyzer Works

A breathalyzer or a breath test is one of many ways in which law enforcement agencies use to determine a driver’s level of intoxication. A sobriety test may be used in addition, and an arrest can be made without the use of a breathalyzer. However, the breathalyzer is the gold standard for determining a person’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). If your BAC was 0.08 or higher, you will be charged with a DUI. Whether that measurement stands up in a court of law is another matter entirely, for not all breathalyzers read accurately, and there is a certain degree of user error that may be taken into account. If you were arrested for drunk driving, our experienced Winchester DUI attorneys can provide the assistance you need.

History of the Breathalyzer

According to the New York Times, Professor Robert F. Borkenstein of Indiana University invented the Breathalyzer in 1954, back when drunk driving accounted for 50 to 60 percent of all traffic fatalities. Nowadays, drunk driving accounts for roughly one third of all traffic fatalities. Before the invention of the breathalyzer, Dr. Emil Bogen discovered how to determine a person’s intoxication level via blood alcohol content. The device he invented required a bladder of sulphuric acid and potassium dichromate. When an individual blew into the bladder, the colors of the chemicals inside the bladder changed. Those changes were compared to the colors of various other tubes that had varying levels of alcohol added to them. While accurate, this device could not be used widely to deter drivers from driving drunk due to obvious issues of practicality. Many other types of alcohol-measuring devices were invented in between Dr. Emil Bogen’s and Dr. Borkenstein. However, the breathalyzer was the first device capable of being used used in real-life settings.

The Science Behind the Breathalyzer

A breathalyzer works by analyzing a chemical reaction. The person breathes into the device and their breath passes through a mixture of potassium dichromate, sulfuric acid, silver nitrate, and water. During this process, the alcohol in the person’s breath is removed from the air and turned into liquid. At that point, the alcohol chemically reacts with the potassium dichromate and causes a color change from red-orange dichromate ions to green chromium ions. An electric current is produced when this new chemical mixture is compared to an unreacted mixture. A knob must then be turned to determine the level of alcohol in that mixture, which shows the blood alcohol content of the subject.

Are all Breathalyzers Accurate?

Personal breathalyzers are not accurate, according to ABC News, and should not be used to determine whether you are capable of driving home. If you have even the slightest doubt over your sobriety, simply do not drive. On the other hand, the models used by law enforcement are very accurate. However, they do misread at times, often when the subject has used an asthma inhaler, mouthwash, the breathalyzer was not calibrated properly, the subject is on a very low carbohydrate diet, and for other reasons as well.

If you have been charged with a DUI, contact the Winchester DUI attorneys of Simms Showers, LLP today. We can help fight the charges against you throughout each step of your case.

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