Breathalyzer devices are so commonly used these days that it is difficult to remember that the results they produce are not always reliable. While the way that television and movies portray Breathalyzers may make them seem infallible, this is far from the truth.
If you recently received charges based on Breathalyzer results, you may have more legal options to fight these charges than you realize, as long as you take action immediately. The longer you wait to begin building a legal defense, the fewer options you have and the more time that the prosecution has to build its case against you.
It’s vital to a successful defense to thoroughly examine all the evidence against you. This includes reviewing video footage of your interaction with the police officer who issued your charges. Professional counsel can provide you with additional tools you need to defend yourself and protect your rights, even if you think the evidence against you is fairly strong.
Challenges to the reliability of the results
Even if a police officer uses a Breathalyzer correctly and it is properly maintained, these devices have a margin of error. If your arrest resulted from results that indicated you were barely over the legal limit, you may have grounds to claim that the results are insufficient because of the error margin.
However, in reality, many of these devices are not properly maintained, which leads to a host of issues. A Breathalyzer requires regular calibration to ensure that it delivers accurate results, just like many other measurement tools.
If the device is not calibrated, it may easily produce results that do not reflect a driver’s actual level of intoxication. Similarly, if the device does not receive regular maintenance, it may malfunction, producing inaccurate results. You may have grounds to claim that the device was not properly calibrated or maintained, invalidating the results.
it is also possible that the officer who issued the charges did not operate the device correctly. While this is particularly difficult to prove, if you can make a strong case that the test was not properly administered, you can object to the results.
Even if you cannot find a clear way to challenge your Breathalyzer results, you may have grounds to object to the charges if the officer who issued them violated your rights during your initial interaction.
In many cases, an officer may overstep his or her legal authority and violate your constitutional rights. In these cases, you may find you can object to the violation and get the charges dropped.
Whichever defense you choose, you should begin building it as soon as possible. Your future rights and privileges may be usurped if you do not fight these charges with every tool you have available.