Can I Challenge Breathalyzer Test Results in Florida?
You blow into the device, there’s a short pause and series of beeps. A moment later, your stomach drops as the police officer informs you that you’ve been driving over the legal blood-alcohol limit. It’s a scenario countless drivers face every day, and it’s a moment where many believe their fate is sealed.
However, breathalyzer tests aren’t a perfect system for weeding out drunk drivers. These devices can produce inaccurate results, and officers can also make serious mistakes that might affect the numbers after you blow. In this article, we examine some of the issues with these devices and how you may be able to challenge the results.
How Reliable Is a Breathalyzer Test?
Breathalyzer devices have been adopted by authorities across the country as a reliable method to determine whether a driver is under the influence. However, despite its widespread use, breath tests do have a considerable margin of error. Additionally, if the device is incorrectly maintained, malfunctions during testing, or the officer conducting the test isn’t qualified to do so, the results can also be inaccurate.
How Can I Challenge the Results?
The best defense will depend on the unique circumstances surrounding your case. As such, you will first need to investigate the arrest to determine whether there were any issues with the device. Possible defenses against breathalyzer test results can include:
- The device detected other substances in the breath that have a similar molecular structure to alcohol;
- The device wasn’t correctly calibrated;
- The officers conducting the test did not administer the test correctly; or
- The officers conducting the test did not follow proper protocol for using the device.
It’s important to note that if you tested over the legal limit there are many different ways to have the results thrown out. For instance, if you can prove that the officers didn’t have “probable cause” to stop you—i.e., they were acting on a hunch when they pulled you over—any evidence gathered during this illegal traffic stop, including the breath test results, may be ruled inadmissible.
A skilled DUI lawyer can investigate the arrest to determine if the breathalyzer test results are accurate and/or if the officers made any mistakes. With strong evidence to demonstrate that your rights were infringed, you may be able to attack the case against you and have your penalties reduced or the charges dropped. However, much of the evidence needed to fight a DUI charge could be time-sensitive, so it may be in your best interests to contact an attorney as soon as possible before this proof is destroyed, altered, or becomes unavailable for any other reason.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Palm Beach Gardens DUI Lawyer
Did you test over the legal limit? Your fate isn’t set in stone. With the right strategy, you may be able to fight the charges and avoid getting a DUI on your permanent criminal record.
Todd A. Kawecki understands that even the most well-intentioned people make mistakes. As such, he’s dedicated his practice to defending the rights of those who have found themselves facing criminal charges. If you were arrested for driving under the influence, Todd will work to help ensure your rights are protected from the first phone call until the final verdict. Call 772-272-9269 or tap through to our contact page HERE to request a free case review with a Florida DUI lawyer.