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Maryland DUI Breath Tests

Maryland DUI breath tests are an ECIR II Intoximeter by a company called Intoximeter. It is a breath testing device used in many jurisdictions. In Maryland, it is the only machine that is used for DUI breath tests. Individuals are advised to speak with a well-practiced Maryland attorney to learn how these tests may impact their DUI case. A seasoned attorney could review their case and explain their rights.

Mechanisms are Used to Test the Presence of Alcohol in a Person’s Breath

For a DUI breath test in Maryland, the mechanism used to test the presence of alcohol in a person’s breath is a fume cell detector. There is a specific material and when breath comes into contact with this material, the alcohol in the breath causes a chemical reaction in the compound that releases electrons, which trigger electrodes and produces a specific electronic signal that is measured by the device. The strength of the signal varies with the amount of alcohol in the breath, which is how it registers a blood alcohol level from the breath sample.

In Maryland, How is a Breath Test Administered?

The machine that administers the breath test tests the level of alcohol in the person’s bloodstream. In Maryland, the DUI breath test is administered by a specific procedure that the breath technician or tester must follow. It is typically conducted at the police station in a controlled environment after the person has been arrested and removed from the scene of the arrest. There is a minimum preliminary observation period of twenty-minutes prior to the beginning of the test to ensure that the arrestee does not do anything or that nothing happens that could contaminate the test. This could include chewing gum, eating, or drinking. Even burping could release certain gases that could contaminate the sample.

If those things happen, the twenty-minute observation period must restart before the test could be administered. The person is asked to blow into a mouthpiece attached to the testing machine. It is generally a strong and sustained blow, which is designed to ensure that a sufficient volume of breath is expelled so that the machine could read it and so that the breath comes from deep within the lungs to produce an accurate result.

After the person submits one adequate sample, they are asked to produce a second since there must be two adequate samples for the results to be valid. While there are also other requirements, the person must submit two samples. Once this step is complete, the testing is done. A hard-working attorney who has handled Maryland DUI cases could build a person’s defense.

Steps an Officer Must Take While Administering a Valid Breath Test?

Officers must include a twenty-minute observation period prior to administering the testing. It must be used with sterilized equipment, which includes a fresh and sterilized mouthpiece, which is the part of the equipment that comes into contact physically with the arrested person. When the test is conducted, there must also be a clear sample first in which no breath or sample gas is introduced into the machine. The machine should give a reading of 0.0.

There must then be a baseline test. This comes from the chemical compound within the machine that is calibrated to 0.08 percent blood alcohol content, which is the legal baseline in Maryland for driving a vehicle. When the arrestee gives a breath sample, there must be a sufficient volume of breath to register as an adequate sample. If the person is not able to maintain a sustained breath long enough to register as an adequate sample, they could be asked to try again. It would be noted in the test results if they are not able to do so. Once the person gives one sample, there is another baseline test and the person gives a second sample. There is another baseline test and then there is a clear again to ensure that the machine is reading accurately with the baseline and that no gas is introduced.

Speak With an Attorney About Maryland DUI Breath Tests

Maryland DUI breath tests are significantly important pieces of evidence that could be used in a person’s drunk driving case. While courts rely heavily on the readings these tests give back, their results could be challenged with the help of a seasoned defense attorney. A Maryland lawyer could explain how a breath test works and what manner an officer must conduct a test. An experienced attorney could champion your case and fight for you.

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