Breathalyzers are used by law enforcement officials to determine a suspected drunk driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level to establish probable cause, make an arrest, and gather evidence of intoxication to be used against the individual in court. The results from these devices hold significant power within the criminal justice system and are treated as indisputable evidence by juries throughout the country.
However, according to a recent article by The New York Times, many people are wrongfully convicted based on the results of these faulty tests. Over 100 attorneys, police officers, scientists, and executives were interviewed for this story and tens of thousands of pages of court records, confidential e-mails, and other documents were reviewed to reveal that these highly-sensitive machines are often not properly calibrated and maintained, as well as a lack of government oversight, thus producing results that were sometimes 40 percent higher than they should be.
Based on The Times report, the following are several reasons why you should challenge the results of the breath test:
- Skewed results – From calibration and other human errors to lack of maintenance at some labs, these tests cannot always be trusted. The New York Times reported that judges in Massachusetts and New Jersey have suppressed over 30,000 breath tests in the past year due to such mistakes.
- Refusing to take a test can result in administrative and/or criminal penalties – In Washington and many states throughout the country, implied consent laws can lead to driver’s license suspension and other penalties if a driver refuses to take a post-arrest breath test. Even though a breath testing device has issues that affect the results, police officers believe they are sound.
- Flawed test results can set dangerous drivers free – When the courts discover an error, the correctable action is typically dismissing the questionable results. However, this can weaken otherwise strong cases against dangerous drivers.
- Challenging inaccurate breath tests have been successful – Every breath test conducted within the past eight years in Massachusetts was thrown out because a group of defense lawyers joined forces to help their clients challenge the results.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Lynnwood or in Snohomish County, Dichter Law Office, PLLC has obtained reduced charges and case dismissals in 90 percent of all DUI cases we handle. Our legal team consists of former prosecutors who understand both sides of the courtroom and what it takes to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom.
If you believe a faulty breath test led to your DUI charge or conviction, contact us today at (425) 296-9358 and schedule a free consultation.