DUI Arrests And Breathalyzer Tests: What Defendants Should Know

Law Blog

Not all sobriety testing is accurate or legal and that includes breathalyzer results. Defendants facing DUI (driving under the influence) charges should be prepared to work with a criminal defense attorney to challenge the sobriety test results. To find out what your defense attorney might do to defend against an unjust breathalyzer test result, read on.  

Breathalyzer Defensive Strategies

  1. Check for Calibration Issues: Breathalyzer machines need regular calibration to ensure accuracy. A lawyer can investigate whether the machine used in the defendant's case was properly calibrated and maintained. If there are any issues with calibration, it could raise doubts about the accuracy of the test results.
  2. Analyze Field Sobriety Test Performance: The lawyer may question the validity of the field sobriety tests conducted by the arresting officer. If the defendant's performance on these tests does not align with the breathalyzer results, it can be used to challenge the accuracy of the breathalyzer test.
  3. Challenge the Officer's Training: A lawyer might investigate the training and experience of the officer who administered the breathalyzer test. If the officer was not adequately trained or made errors during the testing process, it could be used to question the reliability of the results.
  4. Medical Conditions or Medications: Certain medical conditions or medications can influence breathalyzer results, leading to false positives. The defendant's lawyer can explore whether any medical factors could have affected the test.
  5. Rising Blood Alcohol Defense: Alcohol absorption rates in the body are not instantaneous, and there can be a delay between the time of driving and when blood alcohol levels peak. This defensive strategy reasons that the level of alcohol present in the defendant's blood had previously been below the limit while driving but has now risen at the time of the roadside stop and testing. 
  6. Challenging the Stop or Arrest: If there were issues with the legality of the traffic stop or the arrest itself, the lawyer could challenge the admissibility of the breathalyzer test results in court.
  7. Expert Witness Testimony: A lawyer may call upon expert witnesses, such as toxicologists or forensic scientists, to testify regarding the accuracy and reliability of breathalyzer tests in general or the specific circumstances of the defendant's case.

It's important to note that DUI laws and defense strategies vary by state. If you or someone you know is facing a DUI charge and believes the breathalyzer test results are inaccurate, it's crucial to consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney who can assess the case and develop the best defense strategy.

For more information, contact a DUI attorney near you.


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