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Proven Representation

Ways to challenge a breathalyzer

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2022 | Criminal Defense

If an officer suspects a drunk driver, they may pull them over to test for intoxication. They commonly start by observing the driver, conducting field tests, then administering a breath test. However, the accuracy is often debated, and drivers in West Chester Township, Ohio, can challenge the results.

Calibration

All breathalyzers must be calibrated, which is maintaining the device and checking the sensors periodically for accuracy. Breathalyzers check for DUI by measuring the blood alcohol content, or BAC, with a breath sample from the driver.

While calibration schedules vary, the test must be administered by a trained technician with certification on that specific device. If the defense has doubts about the accuracy, they may get a court order to access calibration records.

Medical issues and everyday products

Diabetes may skew the results of a breathalyzer because it produces ketones, which have alcoholic properties. If blood sugar levels get too high, the body can’t access carbohydrates and will use ketones for energy.

The opposite condition, hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can cause the same effect, and present symptoms similar to intoxication. Many everyday products, such as cough syrup, breath fresheners, and certain foods with yeast have alcohol in them.

Lack of reasonable suspicion or probable cause

The officer needs reasonable suspicion to pull a driver over, which means believing that the driver has violated a traffic law. This may include observing the driver speeding excessively, constantly swerving, speeding and slowing down, and running red lights. The officer can not stop a driver on a whim, such as following them after they leave a bar, without a good reason.

They also need probable cause, which is the evidence they gather from observing the driver and testing them. If the officer failed to have one or both of these elements, the judge may dismiss the case.

Refusing to take a chemical test can lead to immediate license suspension and hefty fines. With a good defense, the accused party may beat charges or work out a plea deal.

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