The results of a breathalyzer test often serve as the foundation for DUI charges. If a conviction is obtained on drunk driving allegations, then an individual can be hit with penalties that can reshape his or her life. Drivers license suspension or revocation is a very real possibility, which can make it hard to get to work and care for one’s children. Jail time can threaten an individual’s freedom, while fines can rock one’s financial stability. The criminal record created by a conviction can also have a ripple effect, hurting an individual’s reputation as well as his or her ability to secure employment and housing.
With so much hinging on breathalyzer test results, its important to recognize that they’re not always accurate. In fact, one study found that these test results can be off by as much as 50%. That means that an individual who provides a test showing a blood alcohol content of 0.1% may or may not be above the legal limit. Yet, law enforcement and prosecutors will always take these results at face value and press charges if they deem it warranted.
This means it is up to accused individuals to challenge the validity of breathalyzer test results. Law enforcement is required to follow strict protocols when it comes to the storage and calibration of breathalyzers, and the testing process must conform to certain practices. This means that any error could be sufficient to destroy the credibility of breathalyzer test results or suppress that evidence altogether.
Challenging the prosecution in a DUI case can be scary given their confidence and the stakes at play. Yet, an individual who arms himself with knowledge and the advocacy needed to push back may be able to secure a more favorable outcome than he or she expected.