Helping people since 1943

Breathalyzer / Datamaster Tests

Breathalyzer and Datamaster Tests in Columbia

Breathalyzer tests estimate blood alcohol content (BAC) by calculating the percentage of alcohol exhaled from your lungs. When you drink, the alcohol absorbs into your body and blood, and then evaporates through your lungs. A BAC of .08 or above is considered drunk driving in South Carolina and you can be charged with DUI.

Two types of breathalyzer tests used in South Carolina

There are two types of breathalyzer tests used in South Carolina: handheld and desktop.

  • The handheld breathalyzer is conducted at the site of the arrest and commonly referred to as one of the Field Sobriety Tests (FST).  This test can only used by the officer to establish a reasonable suspicion of drunk driving; it is not admissible in court. If your blood alcohol content measures .08 or above in a field test, you can then be arrested and taken to an authorized testing site to take a court admissible test.
  • The Datamaster is the only breath testing device whose results are admissible in a South Carolina court.  It is a desktop device that uses infrared technology to measure alcohol content in your breath.  You can only be administered this test at an approved breathalyzer test site. If the Datamaster measures your BAC at .08 or higher, you may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI).

If you refuse a Datamaster test or the breathalyzer, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for a minimum of 6 months.  However, a license suspension doesn’t have to stop you from going to work or school, and the attorneys at Bernstein & Bernstein can help you get your license reinstated while your case is pending.

If you are charged with DUI, you are entitled to a jury trial and may challenge certain elements of the evidence against you, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Your BAC must be tested within 2 hours of your arrest.
  • The individual who administered the test or took samples must be qualified.
  • The equipment must be tested with a simulation prior to your test.
  • You must be observed for 20 minutes prior to the test.
  • The entire test, including the 20 minute observation period, must be videotaped.

Administering a fair test in South Carolina requires appropriate training, following specific procedures, and using a properly maintained unit; failure in any of these areas can be challenged in court.  Contact us, and let the experienced South Carolina law firm of Bernstein & Bernstein help you defend the charges against you and protect your reputation, your freedom and your future.