Many of our readers may be surprised to learn that challenging breath test evidence is often a superior drunk driving defense strategy to refusing a breath test once you have been pulled over. If an officer pulls you over and you decide to refuse a breath test, severe consequences will immediately result. However, if you bypass refusal of a breath test and take one, you may be able to successfully challenge that breath test evidence in court, even if the breath test indicates that you were driving while under the influence (DUI).
Breath test evidence may be challenged in a number of ways. Breath test devices tend to be unreliable. In addition, the testers must undergo calibration assessments and other testing on a regular basis. If the tester your officer used was not properly calibrated or assessed, you may be able to challenge the breath test evidence accordingly.
In addition, breath test evidence may be successfully challenged if the officer administering the test has not been properly trained or if the officer does not show up to court to testify. Finally, if the stop itself is successfully challenged as an illegal search, the breath test evidence may similarly be challenged.
Driving while under the influence is almost never an acceptable decision to make. Unless you are fleeing violence or some other potentially life-altering event, you should never drink and drive. But if you are pulled over and asked to take a breath test, think twice before refusing the test, even if you believe that you might not pass it. Consequences will unquestionably result from a refusal. However, positive breath test results may be successfully challenged in court in certain situations.
Source: Findlaw Blotter, “5 Potential Ways to Challenge a Breathalyzer,” Brett Snider, Jan. 16, 2014