I Failed the Breathalyzer — Now What?

Picture this — you’re driving home after spending an evening with a couple of close friends over a few laughs, good food, and maybe even a glass of beer or two. While you’re still on your way, you get stopped by a police officer, things take a wrong turn, and you end up being arrested for DUI. You know that you weren’t driving recklessly or otherwise showing signs of impairment, but you still blow a 0.08 or above on the breath test. Now, you fear the police may have definitive proof that you were driving while intoxicated.

However, it’s important to remember that a failed breath test is not an automatic conviction for DUI. A breathalyzer test is just one piece of evidence against you, and it is entirely possible to raise an effective defense against criminal charges with the help of a top DWI attorney in Clearwater. Below, we’ll go over several reasons why breath tests may fail to give accurate results and how we can keep your breath test results out of court.

Related: What Are Your Rights During a DUI Stop?

Reasons Why Breath Tests May Fail to Provide Accurate Results

It may come as a surprise to many people, but the breathalyzer test you submit to does not always provide the most reliable results. Why? The breathalyzer machine actually has quite a few flaws on its own. As a result, it’s entirely possible for the breathalyzer to provide a false reading, wrongfully convicting you of a DUI if you do not have an attorney in place to fight the charges. Below, we go over several frequent cases of false readings:

  • Body still in absorption phase: It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours for your body to absorb alcohol after it has been consumed. Thus, you could have been under the limit while driving but over the limit when you were tested at the police station.
  • Mouth alcohol: When you burp or belch, the gas from your stomach, including any alcohol, will remain in your mouth until it is dissipated. This can dramatically throw off the results of the breath test.
  • Mouth contaminants: Other mouth contaminants, such as mouthwash, dentures, breath sprays, and gum disease, can all significantly skew the results of the breath test.
  • Calibration error: Most handheld breathalyzers will require proper software calibration to accurately detect an individual’s blood-alcohol level. If these devices are not calibrated, the accuracy of the sensors will degrade over time.

How We Can Keep Your Breath Test Results Out of Court

The top DUI attorneys in Clearwater with Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan are very familiar with the various nuances in the law associated with breath testing and are in a unique position to critically analyze the effectiveness of the breath testing machine. We will determine whether the machine used in your case was properly registered and approved for use by FDLE, calibrated, and tested for accuracy. If any kind of calibration or maintenance problem is discovered in your case, we can point to this failure on the part of law enforcement to comply with the administrative rules and prevent the prosecution from introducing your breath results in court.

Other defenses to potentially exclude breath test readings include whether the office had a right to originally stop your vehicle, if your breath test sample was secured via unlawful coercion, and if you were observed for a 20 minute period in order to ensure you did not regurgitate or place something in your mouth. Our team of highly-experienced attorneys is at an advantage when it comes to employing these types of defenses because we have been trained in the proper administration of breath tests. We will examine your case from all possible angles and identify any legal issues that could lead to the exclusion of your breath test results.

For a free consultation with one of the best DUI attorneys in Clearwater, please contact Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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