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Questions about North Carolina blood alcohol concentration tests

For those who have never been charged with a DWI in North Carolina, there may be a lot of questions surrounding the blood alcohol concentration tests. Below, you'll find the answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the subject.

-- Is a breath test the only way to measure blood alcohol concentration?

No, there are five types of bodily samples that can be used to determine a person's BAC. These are breath, blood, hair follicles, saliva and urine. However, breath tests are the most common method of testing for BAC.

-- How accurate is a breath test?

While this type of test is not as accurate as a blood test, it is a test where the results have been ruled as acceptable for evidence. The reliability of a breathalyzer test is not infallible, though. Different room and body temperatures, machine design flaws and differences in hematocrit in a person's blood can all affect the machine's accuracy, according to a court in New Jersey in 1988.

-- Can breathalyzer results be challenged in court?

Yes. An experienced DWI attorney knows to consider the machine's maintenance records, the qualifications of the operator and more to make sure the test was valid.

-- Can you fool a breathalyzer if you are intoxicated?

No. While there are many myths about various things that might fool a breathalyzer, such as mouthwash, pennies, onions and breath mints, none have been shown to work. In fact, mouthwash could actually make a person's BAC read higher.

As you can see, there are many factors to consider if you are facing a DWI charge in Raleigh, North Carolina. An experienced attorney can provide more information on building a strong defense against the charges.

Source: FindLaw, "BAC Test FAQs" accessed Jan. 27, 2015

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