How to challenge breath tests results

If you were pulled over for drunk driving, the officer probably asked you to take a breath tests. If you did and the results were not in your favor, you may be feeling trapped at this point. How can you avoid a DUI conviction if you blew higher than a 0.08?

The answer to this may be to challenge breath test results. As we discussed in a recent posts, breath tests are not always accurate indicators of a person's blood-alcohol level. The first step toward determining whether your breath test was fair is to conduct a thorough investigation into the stop, the use of the breath test and the machine's functionality.

Challenging The Traffic Stop

You may be wondering how the actual traffic stop could help you challenge the breath test. The breath test and its results will only be considered legal and valid if the stop itself was legal.

For the stop to be legal, the police officer must have first had reasonable suspicion to stop you. If you were swerving or broke a traffic law, a stop would be legal. If you did nothing wrong, however, it might not be.

Next, the officer must have had probable cause that you were under the influence of alcohol in order to administer a breath test. Slurring your speech, smelling like alcohol and other common signs of intoxication are usually good enough. If you were not exhibiting any of these behaviors, however, the breath test could be considered an illegal search.

Challenging The Accuracy Of The Breath Test Machine

Another option for challenging breath tests results is to challenge the machine's reliability. In past cases, several people have been able to demonstrate that a breath test machine produced inaccurate results. Your attorney may be able to help you determine how best to do this. If you can show, for example, that you can be sober but still blow a reading that is higher than 0.08, it could help your case.

A second way to challenge the machine itself is to show that it was not properly calibrated before you were instructed to use it. If an officer cannot truthfully testify that it was calibrated before you used it, the results could be deemed inadmissible in court.

Challenging The Officer's Training

As with anything else, police officers must undergo training to administer a breath test. Although it may seem straightforward enough, the officer's testimony about your level of intoxication according to the breath tests may not be sufficient evidence if he or she had not undergone proper breath test training.

An Attorney Can Help

As you can see, there are several ways to challenge breath test results. Investigating the options, however, can be complicated and very difficult if you are not familiar with the systems involved. For this reason, it is often beneficial to work with an experienced DUI defense attorney who can guide you through the process of challenging a breath test.

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