Challenging Breathalyzer Results: Common Defenses in DUI Cases

If you received a DUI and had to take a breathalyzer test, it is crucial for you to reach out to an experienced DUI attorney who can craft a strong defense on your behalf. The consequences of a DUI on your record can be devastating and may follow you for years, if not for life. You may lose your job, be denied access to your preferred educational institution, have a tough time securing housing, and get rejected for jobs. But there’s hope. Read on to learn more about challenging the results of your breathalyzer test and how your lawyer can help.

Why Is It Important to Challenge the Results of Your Breathalyzer Test?

It’s essential to succeed in challenging these results since they are used as primary evidence against you in a DUI case. When you fail a breathalyzer test, it means that you are legally intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of .08 or above. This gives law enforcement the authority to arrest you and charge you with a DUI.

If your attorney can challenge the reliability of the results of this crucial piece of evidence, the tables can turn in your favor.

What Defense Strategies Can My DUI Attorney Use?

There are several defense strategies that are used to challenge the results of this test. Your lawyer may argue that there was no search warrant at the time or that the officers who administered the test did not have the necessary training or qualifications to do so.

Your lawyer may also argue that the police officers who arrested you did not have probable cause to suspect that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or that too much time had elapsed between the time you had taken your last drink and the time when the sample was taken.

Other ways to challenge these results include:

Questioning the Accuracy of the Breathalyzer Device

There are lawyers who have been successful in arguing against the accuracy of the breathalyzer device. Your lawyer may also obtain positive results if they can prove that the reading showed that you were at or just barely above the legal limit. Additionally, there have been many scientific studies conducted on the subject and they have proven that breathalyzers can have false positive results in cases when the driver had merely been around alcoholic fumes.

There is also the argument that the machine had not been adequately calibrated. Your lawyer may question when the device had last been checked and calibrated properly and if there had ever been any issues in the past with this machine that could affect the accuracy of its results. Also, your lawyer may question the way the test was administered, wanting to confirm whether there were any deviations from the way the manufacturer recommends it be used.

Your lawyer may also cite your respiratory issues, the amount of physical activity you had engaged in prior to taking the test, and more. In many cases, hyperventilating or having a respiratory condition has been proven to throw false positive results when the test is administered.

No Informed Consent

In certain jurisdictions, law enforcement officers must receive informed consent from a driver before administering a breathalyzer test. Not following this procedure may lead the judge to throw out the results of the test.

No Reasonable Suspicion

If you were pulled over but the police officers who asked you to stop did not have reasonable suspicion that there were drugs or alcohol involved, this is a sound argument to throw out the results of the test. When the officers testify, they must say under oath that they saw you driving erratically or otherwise not following traffic laws.

When there is no probable cause, this is an illegal stop and can disqualify the results of the test. Finally, if the arresting officer does not show up at your trial or if one shows up but they were not the one who administered the test, your constitutional rights are being violated and this will cause the judge to dismiss your case.

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