If you only encounter Breathalyzer devices in movies or on TV, you might think that the results they produce are foolproof. This is because they are often presented as “smoking gun” evidence that proves a suspect’s intoxication without a doubt.
In reality, there are plenty of reasons to doubt the accuracy of Breathalyzer devices and challenge charges that their results produce. If you face drunk driving charges because an officer administered a Breathalyzer test indicating you were over the limit, don’t throw your hands up and assume that there is nothing that you can do. In many cases, there are numerous ways to challenge these results and potentially be acquitted or see your charges dismissed.
The accuracy of the device
Breathalyzers all have a small, but present, margins of error. An aggressive criminal defense attorney might choose to challenge simply on its own merits. Considering how accepted Breathalyzer devices are at this point, this is not a common strategy unless the suspect only exceeded the legal limit slightly during the test.
However, if the device does not receive ongoing calibration and maintenance, it is far less reliable and much more likely to produce substantially inaccurate results. An uncalibrated Breathalyzer may easily display results that are higher than your actual blood alcohol content (BAC), leading to unjust charges.
Similarly, if the device does not receive regular maintenance, it can malfunction. It is foolish to overlook any opportunities you have to challenge the calibration or maintenance of the device, so be sure that you fully understand how these may apply in your case.
Even a well-calibrated device is no match for operator error or malicious actiosn on the part of your arresting officer. If the officer negligently or intentionally operates the the device incorrectly, you may receive inaccurate results and be charged. Consider your entire interaction with the officer, and if necessary, request the dash-cam footage of your interactions with the police.
If the officer did not follow proper procedures or violated your rights during the stop, your charges may get dismissed.
You have a great responsibility to protect your rights . Your defense strategy is dependent upon many factors, so begin immediately to assemble a solid case.