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Breathalyzers Are Not Just for Traffic Stops Anymore


Whether in a civil case or a criminal one, the strongest evidence that a person was driving drunk is a test measuring the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the collision.  This usually takes the form of a breathalyzer test administered by a police officer immediately after the suspected drunk driver causes an accident or engages in dangerous driving behavior that makes the police suspect that the driver is drunk.  It is possible to win a personal injury lawsuit about injuries caused by a drunk driver even if the driver who caused the accident did not get convicted of DUI; the standard of evidence required to secure a conviction in criminal court is much higher than that required to secure a verdict in favor of a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit.  Today, handheld breathalyzer tests administered by police officers at traffic stops are only one way of measuring a driver’s BAC.  A Jacksonville car accident lawyer can help you if you have suffered serious injuries in an alcohol-related car accident.

When Breathalyzers Are Built Into the Car

Breathalyzers calculate a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) by measuring the concentration of alcohol metabolites in a breath sample.  A BAC above 0.08 percent is considered too drunk to drive and can result in criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI).  The Florida courts sometimes require drivers convicted of drunk driving to install ignition interlock devices on their cars for a certain period of time if they have had multiple DUI convictions or if their BAC was much higher than the legal limit.  While the device is installed, the car does not start until the driver provides a breath sample that shows a BAC of less than 0.08 percent.

Some cars even have breathalyzer sensors installed in the ceiling and in other parts of the car near the driver’s seat.  They measure alcohol metabolites in the ambient air near the driver.  Therefore, these built-in breathalyzers in cars can tell the difference between the driver’s BAC and the BAC of a passenger.

SCRAM Ankle Bracelets Can Detect Alcohol Metabolites

In some repeat DUI cases, the court will order a convicted defendant to wear a secure continuous remote alcohol monitoring (SCRAM) device.  The device is an ankle bracelet that can measure alcohol metabolites in sweat.  Most SCRAM devices record the wearer’s BAC each hour.  The court sometimes orders people to wear these if, as a condition of probation or pretrial diversion, the court is requiring the wearer to abstain from alcohol completely.

Even with the absence of BAC measurements, it may still be able to win a personal injury case related to drunk driving.  To win a personal injury lawsuit, you must only show a preponderance of the evidence.

Contact Douglas & Douglas About Car Accident Cases

A North Florida personal injury lawyer can help you if you are suffering from serious injuries as a result of a drunk driving accident.  Contact Douglas & Douglas in Jacksonville, Florida for a free consultation.



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