Calif court: breath test accuracy can vary

July 9, 2009 1:46:04 PM PDT
The California Supreme Court has acknowledged that Breathalyzer results mean different things for different drivers.The unanimous high-court decision issued Thursday means suspected drunken drivers can attack the accuracy of roadside breath test results in some cases. Studies have shown the breath-to-blood ratio varies widely among different people and even in the same person depending on such factors as health, menstrual cycle and even the weather. The one-size-fits-all tests determine the amount of alcohol in the breath and then, using a scientific formula, converts that figure into an estimation of alcohol in the blood. Lawyers say juries in several other states already are allowed to consider the test's variability.

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