DUI Breath Tests: What are They and Can They be Challenged?
Everyone has seen a breathalyzer given in the movies or TV. Someone is stopped by police, taken to the police station and asked to give a DUI breath test. The person blows into a mouthpiece, the results are read and the officer knows if the person is intoxicated or sober. But, that isn’t how it always happens in the real world.
When a police officer stops a car and has probable cause to believe that the driver is intoxicated, the officer may ask the driver to give a breath test. Before performing the test, the officer is required to read the Implied Consent law to the driver, which basically states that if you refuse any test offered by the officer, your driving privileges will be suspended for one year (with some exceptions, if you can successfully challenge the refusal). If the officer does offer a breath test, and you refuse, there is a very good chance he will offer a blood draw, or request a warrant for a blood draw, so refusing isn’t usually the best option. If you agree to perform the breath test, it will be done at the station and must be done on a certified machine, following very specific instructions. For example, before the DUI breath test can begin, the officer must observe the test subject for twenty minutes prior to administering the breathalyzer and the test must be administered within three hours of the suspected intoxicated driving.
While many people may believe that blowing over the legal limit of .08% BAC is the end of case, it is not. There are many reasons that a breath test may be inaccurate. For example, if a person was right near the limit at the time of driving and an hour later they blow a .09%, there is reason to believe that they may have been under the legal limit when they were driving, because blood alcohol content can continue to rise after a person stops drinking. Some other ways to challenge a DUI breath test include:
- Certain medical or dental conditions can make a test result unreliable
- Smoking may affect the results of the DUI breath test
- Contaminants in your mouth may cause high results, such as breath sprays, tobacco or medications
- If the officer does not administer the test following the NHTSA manual, the results may be invalid
- If the breath machine was not maintained properly or certified the breath test may be suppressed
- If it can be shown that you consumed alcohol after you operated your vehicle, the test may not be an accurate representation of your BAC at the time of operation
Every DUI case is different and many factors can dramatically change the course of your defense strategy, including how and if you can challenge a DUI breath test. Do you need a DUI lawyer in Indianapolis? Our DUI lawyers Julie Chambers and Katie Kawiecki can provide the experience and professional advice you need for your DUI case. Chambers Law Office represents clients throughout central Indiana, including Marion County (Indianapolis), Hamilton, Hancock, Johnson, Madison, Hendricks and Boone Counties.
*This information should not be considered legal advice and it is important to contact a lawyer right away if you have been accused of DUI or OVWI in Indianapolis or any of the other central Indiana counties.