When a driver receives DUI charges based on breathalyzer results, it can feel as though there is no room to build a decent legal defense. This is understandable because the media often portrays breathalyzers as airtight proof of intoxication, but this is simply not the case in many instances.
Although breathalyzers do measure the amount of alcohol in a subject’s blood stream with impressive precision, these instruments are far from perfect. Even if you believe that the evidence against you is very strong, it is still wise to consult with a DUI defense attorney to fully understand your rights and the legal options you have available.
In many cases, suspects find ways to challenge the validity of the results or even challenge some other aspect of the police interaction. These opportunities rarely present themselves to those who do not look for them, so it is wise to protect yourself and the ones you love by using every tool you have to build a strong defense and fight the charges.
Are the results valid?
A breathalyzer is a fallible piece of technology, just like a bathroom scale. If you’ve ever noticed the needle on a scale in a bathroom does not rest at absolute zero, then you know that scale does not produce accurate results. A breathalyzer similarly takes measurements, and may produce inaccurate results if not properly calibrated.
In order for the breathalyzer to produce accurate results, the officer operating it must regularly maintain it, calibrate it, and must fully understand how to operate the device. If one or more of these areas is compromised, so are the results of the breathalyzer.
Even if a device is properly calibrated and maintained, it is important to note the responsibility of the officer to use the device correctly. If the officer does not operate the device correctly, you may have grounds to claim operator error affected your results.
Did the officer follow proper procedures during the stop?
When an officer stops a suspect, he or she bears a great responsibility under the law to assess the situation and make judgements about the conduct of a suspect without violating a suspect’s rights.
Courts generally do not care for officers who break the law in order to enforce the law. If you believe that your arresting officer broke the law or violated your civil rights in the course of the interaction, then you may have grounds to challenge the charges as a whole.
An officer may violate your rights a number of ways, so it is important that you consult with a legal professional who can help you understand exactly what rights you have during a traffic stop and identify any ways that your arresting officer possibly violated those rights.
Professional legal counsel not only helps you protect yourself and your rights against DUI charges, it helps you fight to create a more just legal system by standing up to unfair practices for those who cannot stand up for themselves.