What is Used to Test My Breath In New Jersey?
New Jersey’s breath testing machine is called the Alcotest machine, which is manufactured by a German company called Drager Industries. The State of New Jersey adopted Drager’s Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C as the State’s official breath test machine after the landmark DWI decision in State v. Chun found that the machine was scientifically reliable. Like all breath machines, the Alcotest is a device which is used to measure a drunk driving suspect’s blood alcohol content. The Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C does this by actually taking two separate breath samples from each suspect and then sends those samples one at a time through the machine’s two testing chambers. The first chamber analyzes alcohol contained in the breath sample by using a chemical reaction from an electrochemical cell (referred to as the EC result).
Next the machine sends the same breath sample into a second chamber where it is tested using infrared lights called infrared spectroscopy (referred to as the IR result). Once IR result is completed the machine purges itself of the air sample and gets ready for the second breath sample from the suspect. This will ultimately result in 4 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) readings – 2 EC results and 2 IR results. This system which uses two separate and accurate technologies to test the same breath sample is intended to provide the highest level of accuracy and legal integrity. In order for the machine to give a successful final BAC, all 4 readings must be within a certain tolerance of one another to be considered a “true” reading. This is done by plugging the numbers into an algorithm referenced in Chun.
Moreover, the state allows the defendant the benefit of the doubt by taking the lowest of the 4 readings and rounding down to the second decimal place (Truncation). For example if your readings are 0.151%, 0.153%, 0.149% and 0.151% then your reading final BAC reading would be 0.14%.