Most in Greensburg are likely familair with the number “0.08” in reference to the state’s drunk driving laws. That is the blood alcohol content measurement that indicates one is legally determined to be too impaired to operate a motor vehicle. Many may wonder, however, how such a concentration can be determined the moment one of pulled over on the road. The field sobriety tests officers issue to see if one appears visually impaired can be an indicator of drunkeness, yet only chemical testing can identify one’s BAC.
Section 1547 of Title 75 of Pennsylvania’s Consolidated Statutes shows that the state recognizes chemical testing to be measurements of one’s breath or blood. Law enforcement officials will often have a breahtalyzer device with them to obtain a breath measurement the moment one is detained for suspicion of DUI. However, research has shown the results of such testing to have a significant margin of error (up to 50 percent, according to some groups), and thus may be easily challenged. A blood test provides a much more accurate reading, yet such tests cannot be issued at the roadside.
Pennsylvania state law allows officers a two-hour window from the time that a person is arrested for DUI to perform confirmatory chemical testing. At the end of that two-hour period, one must still resigter a BAC measure of greater than 0.08 in order to be charged. The longer that law enforcement waits, the more likely the results of their testing are to be questioned. The only way that as test obtained more than two hours after an arrest is if law enforcement produces evidence as to why officials were not able to conduct testing earlier and that the accused had embibed since the time of his or her detainment.