Breathalyzer readings are critical pieces of evidence in drunk-driving cases. You need to ensure that the test results were properly obtained. If not, challenge your breathalyzer results.
- How do you challenge Breathalyzer results? The experienced attorneys at George Law, (248) 470-4300, know that Breathalyzer results are only as effective as the breathalyzer machine itself and the cop who gave the test.
Unreliable Breathalyzer Tests Generates Unreliable Breathalyzer Results
A breathalyzer test can be unreliable for a number of reasons.
First, the police may not have properly calibrated the breathalyzer. The police must regularly calibrate breathalyzers based on how often they have been used and how long it has been since they were last calibrated. If a cop can’t testify that the breath-testing device was properly calibrated when you were arrested, or the experienced attorneys at George Law (202.470.4300) can raise a reasonable doubt as to the device’s calibration, you can get your case dismissed.
Second, a foreign substance in your mouth or in the environment may have contaminated your breath test. If you had substances in your mouth that contain alcohol, your test may have produced a false-positive result. You may have emitted a greater amount of alcohol vapor than the amount that you ordinarily would exhale from your lungs. A lot of ordinary, daily items contain alcohol and can corrupt a breathalyzer result. For example, mouthwashes, breath fresheners, and toothache medicines often contain alcohol.
Third, environmental factors in the room where you took the breathalyzer can lead to false readings. The presence of paint fumes, varnish, and some adhesives all contain alcohol. If they were present in the air where you took your test, the test can produce false results.
Improperly Administered Breathalyzer Tests Generate Unreliable Results
Breathalyzers are sensitive, sophisticated pieces of scientific equipment. And though police officers are generally wonderful people, they are not scientists. And they typically are not dainty and do not handle the equipment with care.
Think about your breathalyzer test. For a court to admit your test in evidence, the officer must have collected your breath sample consistent with three requirements:
- from deep lung air (to use a fancy phrase – it must be “alveolar air”);
- after having observed you for at least 15 minutes before your breath sample; and
- ensuring that you did not eat, drink, smoke, vomit, or regurgitate.
If you snuck a smoke, or the cop did not follow the other two, the court may refuse to admit the officer’s testimony regarding your Breathalyzer-test results at your trial.
Your Breathalyzer Test was the Result of an Unlawful Search
Even if the officer who tested you was a skilled technician, was properly trained, and properly calibrated the Breathalyzer, the court will still refuse to admit your test results if the officer did not have probable cause to use the Breathalyzer in the first place. The skilled attorneys at George Law (202.470.4300) have been winning these arguments for years.
To make a lawful arrest for drunk driving, the arresting officer must have:
- reasonable suspicion to pull you over, such as if you were driving erratically or breaking a traffic law; and
- probable cause that you were intoxicated, such as slurred speech, an odor of alcohol in your car, bloodshot or watery eyes, impaired motor skills, or impaired judgment.
If either of these is absent, your attorney can file a motion to suppress evidence of your Breathalyzer results. A successfully-argued motion means the police officer violated your Fourth Amendment right against an unlawful search-and-seizure. This means the court will deem your Breathalyzer test inadmissible as evidence and it can’t be used against you.
The Testing Officer Doesn’t Testify
The Sixth Amendment protects your right to confront witnesses against you. This means you have a constitutional right to cross-examine the officer who performed your Breathalyzer test.
If more than one officer was present when you were arrested, the one who administered the Breathalyzer must testify at your trial. If a cop who did not administer the Breathalyzer test testifies at your trial, we have good cause to challenge your breath-test results as a violation of your constitutional rights.
Call George Law to Protect Your Rights (202.470.4300)
Cops are human. They often improperly or too infrequently calibrate Breathalyzers. Similarly, they also incorrectly administer Breathalyzer tests. Or improperly pulled you over. The experienced attorneys at George Law can help you uphold your rights. They can effectively challenge an improperly-obtained breath or blood-test result to clear you of criminal charges or reduce your punishment. Yes, secondary-breath tests administered at a jail or police station are more accurate, but they are still subject to problems that can distort results. George Law understands the problems associated with blood-alcohol-content (BAC) tests and can guide you to the outcome that works best for you. George Law (248) 470-4300 or georgelaw.com.