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Can I challenge breathalyzer results in court?

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2020 | Drunk Driving |

Yes, you can potentially challenge breathalyzer results. Particularly if you believe that you were under the legal limit at the time of your arrest, it may be possible for you to challenge the breathalyzer results.

According to FindLaw, in some situations breathalyzer results are not reliable or the police obtained the results through an illegal search.

When are tests not reliable?

Breathalyzers are machines, and like all machines they can be faulty. Depending on the situation surrounding your arrest, it is possible to convince a jury that the breathalyzer itself was not giving accurate readings.

Additionally, breathalyzers must be correctly calibrated. Generally this requires testimony from the prosecution to prove. Finally, a trained officer must have used the breathalyzer on you. Without proper training, a jury may decide that an officer’s testimony regarding your intoxication is not reliable.

When is a breathalyzer test illegal?

It is vital that a police officer have probable cause to use the breathalyzer. This means that the officer either needed reasonable suspicion for pulling you over or probable cause of your intoxication at the time. For instance, reasonable suspicion involves testimony that you were breaking traffic laws at the time the police pulled you over. Probable cause may involve slurred speech or smelling of alcohol.

Finally, just like the courts may throw out a speeding ticket if a police officer does not testify at a hearing, the courts may do the same to a breathalyzer. With the Sixth Amendment, you have the right to cross-examine the testing officer: if the officer is not present, you can try to challenge this as violating your rights under the constitution.