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Is a Breath or Blood BAC Test Better?

One of the most common questions people ask a DUI defense attorney is whether taking a breath or a blood test is the better for the outcome of their DUI case. The option will depend on the details of your arrest since each DUI suspect’s circumstances are different.

Before you are arrested for DUI, the officer may ask you to take a series of tests. These typically involve field sobriety tests and the PAS test, which is a handheld breathalyzer device that you blow into.

What You Should Know About Breath & Blood Tests

By law, drivers do not have to submit to any of these tests (before the arrest) since doing so can implicate them of a crime before being arrested. However, once an arrest has been made, you must choose to take either a breath or a blood test under California’s implied consent law. The field sobriety tests on the other hand, are not legally required.

Unlike the roadside PAS test (taken before the arrest), to take the post-arrest breath test, the DUI suspect is taken down to the station and their breath is tested by means of a desktop breath testing machine.

If you choose a blood test, know that these may provide more accurate BAC readings than breath tests. Choosing a blood test may be a better option for someone who is under the legal limit since it can conclusively show you were not under the influence. For those over the influence, blood tests may be harder to refute.

When Breath Tests Are a Better Option

A breath test can be a better option if you were driving above the legal limit. Breath tests are usually inaccurate in determining blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and there are a number of factors, including medical history and diet, that can result in the test producing a higher BAC reading than the driver actually experiences.

Your defense attorney can use the evidence to show that the BAC reading from a breath test was unreliable in your case.

Keep the following in mind:

  • If you are confident that you are below the legal limit, a blood test may be better since it is unlikely to show that you were over the legal limit for driving.
  • If you believe you are over the legal limit, you should opt for a breath test since these results are better challenged in court.

In either scenario, you should have an experienced DUI attorney review the results of your tests and assist you as you in fighting your charges. Call the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to speak to a Board Certified DUI defense lawyer for free!