NH Breathalyzer Test

How Accurate Are Breathalyzers in New Hampshire?

In New Hampshire, police use a portable breathalyzer known as the preliminary breath test (PBT) and the Intoxilyzer 5000en.  Both the portable breath test and the Intoxylizer 5000en are far from perfect, and each has issues with breathalyzer accuracy.

Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)

The portable breathalyzer (preliminary breath test) is used by the police at the scene.  The accuracy of the portable breathalyzer is known to be less then that of the Intoxilyzer 5000en, which is why a refusal of a preliminary breath test can’t be used against you at trial.  However, if you take the preliminary breath test, the results can be used against you.

Intoxilyzer 5000en

The Intoxilyzer 5000en is the machine used by the police when they bring you back to the jail or police station.  The breathalyzer accuracy of the Intoxilyzer 5000en is considered better then that of the preliminary breath test, but there are still issues with it, as discussed in more detail in our DWI defense section.  One common DWI defense is that it’s impossible for the breathalyzer test to analyze your breath results at the time you were driving (which is when the DWI offense actually occurred).  As a result, the more time that passes between the traffic stop, and when you took the breathalyzer test, the stronger the argument is that there are breathalyzer accuracy issues.  In our Alcohol Calculator section, you can use the Blood Alcohol Calculator as a general estimate of what your alcohol level may have been at the time you were driving.  Keep in mind that any online BAC calculator will only provide an estimated blood alcohol level, as there are many factors that can affect a breath alcohol reading, as discussed in our DWI defense section.  To assist you in your DWI defense, your attorney may use an expert to assist in establishing a better estimate of what your blood alcohol level was at the time of driving.  The easy answer to the original question, “How accurate are breathalyzers in New Hampshire?”, is that the preliminary breath test / portable breathalyzer is less accurate than the Intoxilyzer 5000en.

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