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How to Challenge Breathalyzer Test Results

Posted on : June 15, 2016, By:  Donald J Matson
California DUI Lawyer

When a person is pulled over and the law enforcement officer suspects the person has been drinking, they will typically issue a breathalyzer test. If the results are over the legal limit of 0.08% BAC, the person is generally arrested. Contrary to popular belief, breathalyzer results don’t clinch a guilty verdict. Here’s how you can challenge the validity of the results and increase your chances of a case dismissal.

Did the Officer Properly Service and Calibrate the Breathalyzer Equipment?

Law enforcement has a variety of protocols required to ensure that each breathalyzer is properly calibrated and serviced. A log is usually kept of when the equipment was last serviced or calibrated. Your DUI attorney should obtain this information to determine whether or not the specific breathalyzer used before your arrest was outside of calibration and/or service protocol. If the officer had not properly maintained the equipment, the breathalyzer results may be rendered invalid.

Did the Officer Follow Proper Protocol Before Testing?

Law enforcement officers also have to follow certain protocols before administering a breathalyzer test, including observing the defendant for a specified period of time to ensure that there was no eating or drinking. If the officer did not follow this protocol, the test results could be rendered invalid and unusable in a court of law.

Does the Defendant Have Any Medical Conditions That Could Have Caused a False Positive?

In some cases, a defendant will have a medical condition that will cause the BAC to register higher on a breathalyzer test than it would on a blood test or a urine test. The most common condition is acid reflux. Millions of Americans suffer from this condition, and the rise of stomach acid up through the esophagus and into the mouth can create a false positive on a breathalyzer test, even in cases where the defendant had nothing to drink. Your DUI attorney should thoroughly review your medical records to determine if there may be an alternative explanation for a BAC over the legal limit.

When to Contact a Lawyer

The most important thing you can do after being arrested for a DUI is contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can begin evaluating your case and gathering evidence to support your innocence or to have other evidence dismissed from court. Contact the Law Offices of Donald J. Matson, P.C. today for a consultation at (626) 792-1900.

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