Breathalyzer Inaccuracy

BreathalyzerBreathalyzer tests are, to date, the most common form of chemical testing available for determining whether or not a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. This is largely because they are fairly easy to use. Unfortunately, breathalyzer devices have also been shown to have a number of significant design flaws which, over time, can contribute to inaccurate results that, if left uncontested, can put an innocent person behind bars.

There are a wide number of different factors which can lead to inaccurate breathalyzer results. One of the most common is machine calibration – if the calibration formula is off, the results will be as well. Another issue that breathalyzers may have is overreporting results for individuals who have just recently had a drink, as their breath alcohol volume is likely much higher than their blood alcohol volume. Other issues include sensitivity to ambient temperatures, false positives caused by ingestion of foods containing alcohol substances (such as salad dressing), and inaccuracies based on different weights. Most drunk driving defense lawyers know about these factors and use them to defend clients in DUI or DWI cases. For these reasons, some police departments have begun to use the more accurate blood analysis test. If you believe that you have been wrongful charged with a DUI or DWI due to a defective breathalyzer, contact a DUI defense lawyer today.

There is a stigma that comes along with being charged with a DUI or DWI. Charges like these make it hard to get a job, buy a house and apply for a loan. In order to avoid the stigma associated with a DUI or DWI, you might consider expunction, which can remove the criminal charge from your record. To learn more, contact an expunction lawyer today.

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Fighting DUI Charges

Being pulled over by the police is nearly always a nervous experience, especially if they are under the suspicion that you are driving while under the influence of an intoxicant. A DUI conviction can have serious consequences, so it’s important to fight the accusation aggressively.

dui chargesEven though everyone’s case will be different, there are a handful of general defense strategies an individual can use to combat DUI charges. One of the most common defenses is to question the validity of the on-site examinations the police used to determine the defendant’s level of intoxication. Some of the problems with breathalyzers include:

  • They are subject to radio interference
  • The machine must be properly calibrated
  • The officer must administer the test correctly
  • They sometimes register other chemical compounds as alcohol

Field sobriety tests also have their shortcomings, since the way they are administered depends heavily on an individual officer’s perception of your behavior. If you are able to prove in court that there was in error in the sobriety test, you can have the charges against you dropped.

Defending against a DUI charge is not easy and the help of someone who is familiar with alcohol laws and legal defenses can prove invaluable in court.

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Supreme Danger

The Supreme Court of the United States has recently taken up a case from Missouri which has the possibility to significantly reduce privacy rights of motorists in the United States. The case involves a man from Missouri who was stopped by a police officer late one night on suspicion of driving drunk. While he was placed under arrest, he refused to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test, citing his constitutional right to refuse a search without a warrant. The officer nevertheless pressed onward with a blood test, forced on the individual without his consent or the legal authority to do so, because, according to the officer, it would have been to difficult to obtain a warrant at that time.

The issue which the Supreme Court must now decide is whether or not such an action on the part of the officer is allowable under the protections afforded by the Bill of Rights. There is precedent for officers in such situations being given permission to proceed with blood tests without a warrant, but to this point, that has been limited to very particular circumstances, whereas this case leaves open the possibility that any police officer who has probable cause to assume an individual is driving while drunk and does not believe that they can get the necessary warrant in time may force the individual to submit to a test without their consent. Such an expansion of police powers would be a considerable blow to individual liberties, considering the broad latitude which the standard of “probable cause” provides to law enforcement officials. Those who have been subject to chemical testing in these types of conditions should pursue the assistance of a DUI attorney to receive appropriate representation against overzealous law enforcement.

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