In the state of NJ, if you have been charged with a DUI, you are asked to submit to a breathalyzer test at the time you are arrested. If you cannot submit to the test at that time due to accident injury, your BAC level will be determined through a blood test at the hospital. However, if you are able to take the breathalyzer, one will be conducted at the police department and the machine will record your BAC levels.
The Alcotest® is the breathalyzer device used throughout the state of New Jersey to measure the BAC in a given breath sample. In order for the machine to obtain an accurate reading, you must produce a minimum air volume of 1.5 liters when you blow into the machine. In addition, you must blow at the volume of 1.5 liters for at least 4.5 seconds in order for the machine to produce an accurate analysis of the BAC levels in the body. The state of New Jersey does acknowledge that women age sixty and older can experience difficulty meeting these requirements and, as a result, a woman over sixty-years-old is only required to submit a sample of 1.2 liters.
Why A Minimum Volume Requirement?
In order for a breathalyzer test to give an accurate reading of a person’s blood alcohol level, it has to measure the overall blood alcohol concentration in any given person’s system. A breath that comes from deep in the lungs will have a different alcohol level than breath that comes merely from the mouth. The reason NJ requires 1.5 liters over 4.5 seconds is to ensure that the machine takes a fair sample of the person’s BAC.
If the sample is not given for at least 4.5 seconds, it will not be considered an accurate reading. The failure to provide an accurate sample through a breathalyzer after multiple attempts can result in negative consequences, even if not done purposely.
What Happens If You Cannot Produce the Air Volume?
In the instance where a breathalyzer fails to register 1.5 liters of volume or falls short of 4.5 seconds of sustained volume, the sample becomes unusable or unacceptable. The Alcotest® machine will give an error message to alert the law enforcement official that the minimum volume was not reached.
If this happens the official has several options. He or she can record the sample as a terminated sample, which allows the test to be administered again. The test can be given to the person up to eleven times if the sample is continually terminated due to lack of minimum volume requirements.
In other instances the officer can also record the sample as a refusal, meaning that the person refused to produce an adequate breath sample so the test could not read the BAC with any accuracy. If the test is recorded as a refusal, it cannot be given again. The machine will no longer take readings at that point. A summons for refusing to provide a breath sample is then issued to the person being tested which can be result in penalties similar to those for a DUI conviction.
Contact Villani & DeLuca About Your DWI or Refusal
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DWI or breath test refusal, contact the law firm of Villani & DeLuca today. We have experience in handling these types of cases and will work to ensure the best possible defense for you. The DUI lawyers of Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach handle DWI and refusal cases for clients throughout Ocean County and Monmouth County, New Jersey on a daily basis. They can advise you on how best to handle this specific situation and work with you to achieve the best outcome. Call for your free consultation today!