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 breathalyzer defenses.
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 readings.
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 reading.
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 evidence.
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.