Maybe you had a couple of drinks at the bat and headed home for the night, or maybe you rolled a stop sign driving home from dinner with friends where you shared a bottle of wine. Now, suddenly, you see the blue lights flashing behind you. With any luck, you'll get away with a warning, but there is also the possibility that a police officer orders you out of the car.
You wind up submitting to a Breathalyzer test that you subsequently fail. If you find yourself facing criminal charges because you failed a sobriety test, be sure to consider all the legal tools you have to fight these charges. You may have more opportunities to protect your rights than you think.
Contesting the accuracy of a breathalyzer test
Breathalyzers and other devices that perform similar functions do not provide static measurements the way that yardsticks or measuring cups do. Instead, these devices produce measurements that may range in accuracy depending on a number of factors.
In some cases, suspects find success challenging the margin of error of the device itself. This is not often successful because the devices are relatively reliable when properly maintained and calibrated, but they do still operate with a margin of error. If your charges arose because your Breathalyzer results exceeded the legal limit by a very small margin, this may be a defense strategy that you want to explore further.
It is far more common to contest results by challenging the calibration or maintenance of the device used in your test. Like a bathroom scale that rests above zero, an improperly calibrated Breathalyzer may produce artificially high results.
It is also possible that the Breathalyzer may produce inaccurate results if does not receive ongoing maintenance. Poorly maintained devices regularly malfunction and produce inaccurate results, leading to unfair criminal charges.
Contesting the conduct of your arresting officer
These days, the conduct of police is under more scrutiny than in previous decades. In some cases, a police officer may operate a Breathalyzer or similar device improperly, producing inaccurate results. Whether this is an error of ignorance or malice, the resulting charges can be disputed on these grounds.
It is also possible that your arresting officer's conduct violated your rights in some other way throughout your interaction. Even if the officer has strong evidence to charge you with a crime, if he or she violates your rights in the process, a court may dismiss the charges.
These are only a few ways that you can fight Breathalyzer-based criminal charges. Don't wait to begin building your own defense to protect your rights and keep your privileges secure.