When you could lose your driving privileges and your future is at stake, fighting your DUI charge is a top priority.
As a legal situation in Philadelphia shows, you can challenge the accuracy of breathalyzer testing.
An unusual discovery
In the summer of 2016, an attorney informed the police department in Philadelphia, PA, that their breathalyzer machines were out of date. By law, the police department must recalibrate the breathalyzers annually, meaning that the solution that establishes the accuracy of blood alcohol concentration levels must undergo updating. Upon confirming the attorney’s information, the machines were immediately sent out for recalibration and were back in service later that day.
Considering the problem
The police brought the matter to the attention of the District Attorney, requesting a review of any DUI cases for the first six months of the year that involved breathalyzer testing. The attorney who discovered the calibration problem estimated that the issue could impact anywhere between 500 and 1,000 cases. He explained that because of the expired solution, defense attorneys could cite flawed test results and argue that they were inadmissible in court.
Each brand of breathalyzer has a certain range of error. To be accurate, the test results must be within that range of error. In a DUI case of someone whose testing showed that his or her blood alcohol concentration level was over the legal limit, various questions arise. For example, did the person who administered the test have sufficient training? Was there a medical condition that could have affected the breathalyzer results? And, of course, was the machine calibrated properly?
Issuing the challenge
If law enforcement charged you with driving under the influence of alcohol, explore your legal options promptly. The results of field sobriety tests, blood tests and breathalyzer tests are not always accurate. With your future at stake, challenging the prosecution based on flawed results is among the tools available in a successful defense.