Some drivers believe that a failed breath test is the final nail in the
coffin in a
DUI (driving under the influence) case. This
does not have to be true. There are ways to effectively challenge
breath test results and other evidence in even the most seemingly solid DUI case.
In California, a driver may be charged with DUI if he or she submits to
a breath test that shows a result of .08% or greater. A driver may also
be charged with DUI if his or her abilities are impaired by alcohol and/or
drugs, regardless of BAC.
To some, a breath test may seem like an infallible method of determining
whether a driver is driving under the influence of alcohol, but in actuality
there are many ways such a test can go wrong. For example:
- The breathalyzer device may have malfunctioned,
- The device may not have been properly calibrated,
- The test may have been administered improperly, or
- A non-alcohol related factor may have resulted in a high/false BAC reading.
A breath test must be administered in a certain manner if it is to yield
as accurate of a result as possible. The device must be regularly maintained
and calibrated to make sure it is functioning properly.
The officer who administers the test must follow specific protocol, including
a 15-minute observation period of the driver prior to the test to make
sure he or she does not smoke, drink, belch, chew gum or vomit. This can
skew BAC results.
Factors that Can ‘Skew’ BAC Results
There are other issues that can also affect breath test results. Certain
medical conditions, like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can affect
the level of alcohol picked up by a breathalyzer in a driver's breath
sample, which may not necessarily correlate with the level of alcohol
in his or her blood.
Then there is the issue of "mouth alcohol," in which alcohol
in a driver's mouth could be detected after recent dental work, for
example. Even diet and metabolism can affect breath test results.
It takes a thorough understanding of breathalyzer devices and breath test
regulations, as well as DUI laws as a whole, to build an effective defense
against DUI charges that are based on a "failed" breath test.
Challenging Breath Tests
Even what seems like the smallest detail could present enough of a reasonable
doubt to avoid a conviction – it's a matter of finding that
detail and presenting it to the court in a clear and compelling manner.
At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc., our extensive experience in
DUI defense and our commitment to our clients enables us to challenge breath test
results where others cannot.
Serving all of Orange County, we fight for drivers' rights in the presence
of failed breath tests, field sobriety tests and officer testimony regarding
driving behavior and outward signs of intoxication.
To learn more about our firm and the ways we can help you,
contact us for a free case evaluation!