North Carolina has approved the EC/IR II for breath sampling. An additional machine authorized under North Carolina law is the Intoxilyzer 5000. The Intoxilyzer 5000 is a machine manufactured by a company known as CMI, Inc. A rival company, Intoximeters, manufactures the EC/IR II, as well as the AlcoSensor brand handheld alcohol screening devices.
Law enforcement officers may still use either breath test machine when they believe a person is driving while intoxicated. While the machines may sound high-tech and somewhat scary, there are flaws associated with each of them. Before you think about pleading guilty to DWI simply because you failed a breath test, you should contact DWI defense attorney Bill Powers of the Law Offices of Powers McCartan.
The Problems with the EC/IR II and Intoxilyzer 5000
Both breath test machine utilize an infrared spectrophotometer. The EC/IR II relies on an Electrochemical Fuel Cell “EC” for determining the BrAC or Breath Alcohol Content. The IR reading is used to determine the existence of residual mouth alcohol. Both machines attempt to measure the amount of ethanol (alcohol) in a person’s body. One of the issues with both machines is that they use an assumption ratio when they calculates the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood. This is because they both measure how much alcohol is in a person’s breath and assumes that whatever amount found on your breath is in your blood, which is not always the case. For example, if you suffer from GERD, you may have a constant flow of alcoholic gas from your stomach. Testing machinery isn’t always accurate in differentiating between substances detected via Breath Alcohol Content (BrAC) that may be cumulative in nature. For example, studies have been published that indicate a possibility of undetected residual mouth alcohol, upper respiratory track and esophageal surface alcohol combining with an alveolar sample, sometimes called a combinative reading.
Another problem with the EC/IR II and Intoxilyzer 5000 is that they are both machines, which means they must be maintained and calibrated to be in proper working order. In addition, the officer who administered your breath test must have been trained on how to properly use that machine.
So if you were given a breath test and were arrested for DWI in North Carolina, remember to call DWI defense attorney Bill Powers right away. The sooner he can get started on your case, the better.