If you were pulled over for drunk driving in Pennsylvania, the officer probably requested
that you perform the standardized field sobriety tests and submit to a
breathalyzer. Both actions are designed to gather evidence proving that you
were intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol while operating a vehicle.
Unfortunately, SFST are subjective because they are conducted by police officers who may or
may not be trained sufficiently in administering the tests. While the officers
are required to follow the “standards” for administering these roadside
sobriety tests, that is not always the case. The same is true for breathalyzer
tests. Officers must follow standard procedures for administering the tests.
The machines should be well-maintained and in good working ordering. However,
this is not always the case.
You may not think that you can fight the results of a breathalyzer test. Your assumption is
incorrect. Several valid defenses might apply in your case that could result in
breathalyzer results being inadmissible in your case. An experienced Erie DUI
defense attorney can help you investigate potential DUI defenses, including
Four Potential Defenses Against Breathalyzer Results
Officer Are Not Up-to-Date on Training
An officer must receive training to administer a breathalyzer test. Because the technology
used with these machines continues to change, ongoing training may be required.
A DUI attorney investigates to determine whether the officer has the required
training and an up-to-date certification to operate the breathalyzer. A lack of
training and certification could give rise to allegations of inaccurate
Some medical conditions and medications could result in a false positive reading on a
breathalyzer. Health conditions, including diabetes, can trigger a false
positive. Burping immediately before the breathalyzer can result in a higher
reading that is not accurate. Certain medication and mouthwash have been known
to give a false positive on a breathalyzer test. Even something as simple as
using hand sanitizer immediately before the test could result in an inaccurate
Machines That Are Improperly Calibrated
One of the most common causes of inaccurate breathalyzer results is the improper
calibration of the machine. Breathalyzer machines are very sensitive and
complicated machines. If they are not calibrated properly, the result can be
greatly skewed. A New York Times report highlighted the inconsistencies,
problems, and issues related to calibrating breathalyzers.
The consequences of incompetence related to calibrating breathalyzers could be costly for
drivers. A driver found guilty based on false breathalyzer results could face
significant prison sentences, fines, and other DUI penalties.
General Maintenance and Updates
Breathalyzers are machines. In addition to requiring period calibration, they also require
general maintenance and updates. The machines utilize operating software. That
software must be updated to avoid bugs and errors from causing false readings.
Also, failing to update software could leave the system vulnerable to hackers.
Regular testing, maintenance, and updates are necessary to decrease the chance
that a breathalyzer will give false or inaccurate results.
What Should You Do if You Are Arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania?
Don’t assume that a DUI arrest means you are guilty. You may have several valid DUI defense
options available to you. The first step is to contact an Erie DUI defense
attorney immediately. Your attorney investigates every aspect of the DUI
charge, beginning with the traffic stop, field sobriety tests, and BAC tests
and continuing with due process violations and mistakes with the chain of
A DUI attorney interviews witnesses, review police reports, and searches for other evidence
related to the DUI stop and arrest. Your attorney also analyzes case law and
statutes relevant to your case to devise the best legal strategy for defending
the charges against you.
If you are facing a drunk driving charge, your best defense is a good offense, which
begins with hiring an experienced Erie DUI defense attorney.
Contact an Eire DUI Defense Lawyer for Help
Don’t face the criminal justice system alone. Let our team of legal professionals fight to
protect your legal rights. An arrest is not a conviction. Don’t give up until
you talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your DUI arrest.
Contact The Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066 to schedule your free legal consultation with an experienced Erie drunk driving defense attorney. We are dedicated to protecting the legal rights of all drivers throughout Northwestern Pennsylvania.