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What is a breathalyzer test?

Most Alberta residents have never seen a breathalyzer device and do not know exactly what it is. The breathalyzer device is a special machine that analyzes the amount of alcohol in your blood. When the machine is done doing its job, it provides a figure relating to your blood alcohol content (BAC). That figure represents the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream.

The term "breathalyzer" is actually a brand-name for one of many different devices that measure your blood alcohol content. Other brands of devices currently in use are: Intoxilyzer, Alcotest, Alcosensor, Intoximeter and Datamaster. All of these devices complete the same job of measuring your blood alcohol content.

Breathalyzer machines do not directly measure your blood alcohol content. In order to do that, you would need a blood sample. Rather, these machines measure the amount of alcohol found in your breath. Through these measurements, the machine estimates what your blood alcohol content is.

It is important to keep in mind that these machines do not always accurately measure your true blood alcohol content, and Alberta courts are fully aware of this fact. Knowledge of the limitations associated with breathalyzer devices is very useful while defending against drunk driving charges. In fact, it is not uncommon for an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer to get breathalyzer test results thrown out of court, so they cannot be used as evidence against the defendant.

If you are facing drunk driving charges in Alberta, you may be able to successfully defend yourself against those charges. By speaking with a qualified criminal defense lawyer, you can assess your legal situation and the best steps to take in your defense.

Source:, "What is a Breathalyzer?," accessed March 25, 2016

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