When Can You Claim a Breath Test was Wrong?
Breath tests are often the primary piece of evidence in DUI cases. These law enforcement administered tests are usually taken when you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI.
Despite their frequent implementation during DUI stops, breath tests aren’t always accurate. However, this does not mean that your lawyer will be able to challenge breath test results in court. There are only a few ways that your DUI attorney will be able to challenge breath test results, which is why you need an experienced lawyer who understands DUI defense.
Are Breath Tests Accurate?
Breath tests are commonly used by law enforcement during DUI stops in California to determine your blood-alcohol content level (BAC). If your BAC is 0.08% or higher, you are considered legally intoxicated and can be charged with DUI.
However, it has been proven that breath tests are not 100% accurate. How can something that law enforcement relies on so much be inaccurate?
First of all, breath test devices have a margin of error. In some cases, this margin of error could be at least 50%.1 This could make the difference between blowing a 0.07% and being free to drive and a 0.08% and being arrested. Officers may ask you to take a breath test two or three times so that the average BAC can be found.
In addition, breath tests must be administered in the correct way by law enforcement. There are strict instructions when it comes to using these devices, and officers need to make sure breath test machines are correctly calibrated. Officers who do not follow these directions could end up with inaccurate results.
Your breath test results could also be affected by outside influences, such as food that you have consumed, mouthwash or mints that you have used, tobacco use and other factors. Even something as simple as burping could influence the results of a breath test.
Knowing all this, why can’t an attorney challenge the results of a breath test you took before you were arrested for DUI?
How Breath Test Results Can Be Challenged in Court
The reality is that breath test results can be challenged during your DUI case, but an attorney arguing that breath test results are not accurate is not a valid legal reason to fight DUI charges.
In a 2013 California, the state Supreme Court upheld a 2009 ruling that blocks defendants from using expert testimony regarding the general inaccuracy of breath tests. However, an expert is allowed to offer testimony establishing that the particular machine used in a case was wrong.
So, if you are charged with DUI in California, an experienced DUI attorney may be able to show that the breath test you took was not administered properly or that outside factors impacted the results of your breath test. This would be a legal way to challenge the results of the breath test you took.
Contact the DUI Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you have been accused of DUI in California, it is important that you speak to an experienced DUI attorney with knowledge of DUI defense. At Wallin & Klarich, our DUI lawyers have over 35 years of experienced successfully defending our clients against DUI charges. We can help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, you can find a dedicated Wallin & Klarich attorney available nearby no matter where you are located.
Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
1. https://www.motorists.org/issues/dui/breathalyzers-fail-legitimacy-test/ href=”#ref1″>↩