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Breathalyzers in Fredericksburg DUI Cases

There are multiple types of machines someone may be referring to when they use the term breathalyzer. The most common type of BAC test is the preliminary breath test or PBT. The preliminary breath test must be offered to someone who is going to be arrested for suspicion of DUI because it is required by statute.

If you are facing charges for impaired driving and would like to know more about your rights surrounding Fredericksburg DUI breathalyzers, contacting a skilled DUI attorney can be vital to your case.


Refusing the preliminary breath test cannot be used against the person. However, if the person consents to the test and the result shows a level above the legal limit, that can be relied upon for police officers making a decision about whether or not to arrest someone for suspicion of DUI. It is important to know that an officer can use that information against them and that a person has the ability to refuse the preliminary breath test or DUI breathalyzer in the field.

The breath test at the station is sometimes called the breathalyzer. The name of the machine used to be the Intoxilyzer; now there is a machine called the EC/IR II. The EC/IR II is the breath test used for creating the certificate of analysis which is weighed for guilt or innocence for the purposes of a Fredericksburg DUI.

Common Breathalyzer Misconceptions

There are many common misconceptions about DUI breathalyzers. The first misconception is that the DUI breathalyzer test must be taken at the side of the road when the officer asks the person to take it, and if a person refuses, they will suffer penalties. This is not true. Another common misconception is that a person should never refuse the test because they will be charged with refusal. This is also not true. The refusal statute refers to the test at the station, not the test in the field.

While an officer may still choose to arrest someone for suspicion of DUI even if they refuse the preliminary breath test, it is generally in a person’s best interest to refuse this test. There are few circumstances in which someone should submit to a preliminary breath test, notably if the person knows for a fact that they have not consumed alcohol and will have a clean test. Even if the person consumed some alcohol and believes they may be well below the legal limit, it is still a good idea to refuse a test and in order to avoid creating usable evidence for the case.

The idea that the field test cannot be used against the person in court under any circumstance is not entirely true. While the preliminary breath test or PBT cannot be used in court for determining whether or not a person is guilty or innocent, it can be used to determine whether or not there is probable cause for an arrest. People should be aware that there are sound reasons to refuse the PBT. Despite the officer’s statement that the results cannot be used against you in court, the courts they are referring to are trials for guilt or innocence and not the important pre-trial motions.

Inaccuracy in BAC Scores

Breathalyzers may result in false positives and the preliminary breath test may not be admissible in court because its reliability is suspect. For example, it cannot distinguish breath results from a variety of environmental and external factors.

The ECIR/II machine is admissible in court as long as the qualifications outlined in the Virginia Administrative Code and Virginia Code are followed. They vary wildly, vary individually, and are case-specific and person-specific. They may include medical factors, environmental factors, and factors with the proper setup and use of the machine. It is important to discuss the possible penalties and situations involving a breathalyzer that may affect your case.

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