When an officer informs you that you failed a Breathalyzer test and issues charges, it can seem as though you have no strong options for building your defense. Breathalyzers enjoy high levels of confidence in the eyes of the public, and many people wrongly assume that the results these devices produce are accurate in all instances.
However, a Breathalyzer is not a static measuring device like a ruler or a measuring cup, and there are many ways in which it may produce results that do stand up to scrutiny. Even if you think that the results are probably accurate in your case, it is always worthwhile to explore the ways you might challenge them, potentially dismissing the charges altogether.
Building a strong legal defense to drunk driving charges often requires a nuanced understanding of the law as well as the local justice where you received the charges. An experienced attorney can assess your case to identify defensive options and ensure that you do not overlook important opportunities to protect your rights and privileges.
Was the device properly calibrated?
Breathalyzers are susceptible to falling out of calibration, just like a bathroom scale that never seems to rest at zero. If the device used during your stop did not receive proper calibration before you took the test, then you may have grounds to challenge the results.
These devices also require regular maintenance to keep them reliable. Otherwise, they may malfunction, affecting the accuracy of the measurement. If you have any reason to believe the device malfunctioned, you may contest the result on these grounds.
Officer errors and misconduct
In some cases, an officer may not properly operate the device, compromising the results with operator error. However, this is not the only way that the officer's behavior may work in your favor.
Even if the results of the Breathalyzer are difficult to challenge on their own, if the officer did not follow proper protocols or violated your rights during the stop, you may contest the charges on these grounds.
However you choose to fight your charges, don't wait to begin building your case. The sooner that you begin building your defense, the more opportunities you have to scrutinize the evidence against you to identify weaknesses to use to your advantage. Be sure to begin as soon as you can, keeping in mind that the prosecution begins building the case against you as soon as you receive the charges.