man in car blowing into breathalyzer

Can I Dispute the Results of a Breathalyzer Test?

Getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is never a good idea. If you are pulled over or cause an accident and a police officer believes you may be inebriated they can administer a breathalyzer test. Depending on the results you may be arrested and charged. Getting a DUI can have serious repercussions, but you may be able to dispute the results of the breathalyzer test. Speak with a Marquette DUI lawyer to discuss your defense options.

What is a Breathalyzer and What is It Used For?

A breathalyzer is a small device with a tube and digital screen. It is a diagnostic machine that can estimate a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) by having them blow into the tube with their mouth. The device calculates the amount of alcohol in the breath and produces a BAC on the screen. If a person blows a 0.08 or higher they are over the legal limit and cannot lawfully operate a motor vehicle. Breathalyzers are used by law enforcement officers to check a person’s sobriety and keep roads safe.

How Can I Dispute the Results of a Breathalyzer?

The most important part of successfully disputing the results of a breathalyzer test is to hire a lawyer. While it may be tempting to forgo legal counsel as a money-saving measure or because you are confident that you can prove yourself innocent, beating intoxicated driving charges on your own can be nearly impossible. Your attorney will be equipped with knowledge of and experience with the law. They will ensure your rights are protected and carefully evaluate the details of your situation to help form and implement the most effective defensive strategy possible. Below are some ways you can defend against the results of a breathalyzer test.

You may question whether the machine was in peak shape or not. Breathalyzers must be properly certified as well as calibrated. Inspections should take place monthly by a certified instructor who issues an inspection report and certification to the devices. Calibration should be done by officers regularly to ensure the device is functioning properly and is effectively reading BACs. You and your lawyer can request calibration records and proof of certification of the device. If the prosecution fails to provide proof of updated calibration and certification, the results from the test could be deemed inadmissible in court.

You could also argue that the test was tainted. The test could have been contaminated in the moment due to lingering mouthwash, medication, or nail polish remover present nearby. Burping and vomiting before taking the test can also taint the results. Additionally, if the sample was not stored or handled properly it could have contaminated the evidence.

The officer who administered the test may have been unqualified to do so. If you and your attorney can find evidence to suggest that the officer who operated the device was not properly trained or has an expired license, it could be a strong defense. They may have improperly administered the test due to lack of understanding and training which could have impacted the results.

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