Is a DUI Breath Test Always Considered Legitimate Evidence?
Everyone dreads being pulled over and subjected to a DUI breath test. However, there is some question as to whether DUI breath tests produce infallible and inaccurate results. Let’s take a look at whether DUI breath tests always qualify as legitimate evidence.
DUI Breath Tests in Arizona
Those arrested for any type of DUI in Arizona are advised to obtain assistance from a proven DUI defense attorney. Do not make any decisions until you consult with an attorney who has handled similar cases in the past. A single mistake can have major consequences as Arizona has some of the most severe DUI penalties in the nation. You need a skilled attorney on your side who is familiar with the complexities of DUI cases and understands the forensic science of DUI breath tests.
DUI Breath Tests: Fallible or Infallible?
The best DUI defense attorneys understand how DUI breathalyzers work and why these devices are not completely reliable. Even if the breathalyzer works, the manner in which the breathalyzer test was performed or the handling/administration of the test results can sabotage the case against the driver. The slightest err in any of these areas can tip the scales of justice in favor of the defendant. What matters is whether your attorney is willing to do some digging, explore the details of the situation and find out if the prosecution has all of its bases covered.
Discovery is a legal process in which opposing attorneys send questions and requests for evidence to one another. Some of the best DUI attorneys perform elaborate discovery in an attempt to poke holes in the prosecution’s case. This strategy also overwhelms the prosecution with a laundry list of questions and requests, providing even more opportunities to pinpoint weaknesses in their arguments. If the breathalyzer was not properly calibrated, if you did not give your consent to the test or if mandatory protocols and procedures were not followed, your attorney might be able to prove the state’s accusation of DUI is illegitimate.
The specific information requested in the discovery period of each DUI differs by case details. When the breathalyzer results or administration are questioned, some items will prove more important than others. As an example, your attorney might request a copy of the officer’s Operator Permit Card that proves he or she was qualified to conduct the breath test with the specific make and model of the device used to gauge the defendant’s sobriety.
Even records pertaining to breathalyzer quality assurance checks, maintenance and repair should be requested during the discovery period and analyzed in-depth to determine if the police officer’s breathalyzer could provide an accurate reading at that moment in time. The device’s 31 day calibration test results are especially important. If the device was not calibrated to the proper level at the required frequency, there is a good chance the reading produced during the traffic stop is inaccurate.
The Verdict on Breathalyzers
Though police officers and other agents of the state would like the masses to think breathalyzers are completely flawless, the truth is these devices and those who operate them have the potential to be flawed. If you are charged with DUI after being subjected to a breathalyzer test, do not assume you will automatically be found guilty of DUI. Let an attorney evaluate the nuances of your case to determine if it can be successfully argued the breathalyzer results are illegitimate. Even if the breathalyzer test results are valid, the manner in which the test was administered or other police officer actions can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case. You need a savvy attorney to highlight these weaknesses in a convincing manner.
Click here for information on Arizona’s blood alcohol content test.