| Read Time: < 1 minute | Drunk Driving

Can DUI breath test evidence ever be beaten in court?

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

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Drunk Driving

Refusing a breathalyzer test

If you are ever pulled over because a law enforcement officer suspects that you have been driving drunk, he or she may ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. This test will determine the blood alcohol content (BAC) in your body. Some individuals do not wish to submit to these tests because they know that they are intoxicated. However, others wish to avoid them because they believe that they are a privacy violation. What will happen if you refuse a breath test depends on what state you are in. Some states do not allow refusals. If you attempt to refuse, you will either be taken to a police station, a local hospital or some other approved location and forced to submit to a blood, urine or breath test. In other states, you will face a hefty penalty for refusal, which may ultimately be a more destructive penalty than if you had been convicted of drunk driving. These penalties may include an automatic suspension of your drivers’ license. You may also be compelled to pay fees and various citation amounts. Finally, you may be sentenced to a period of incarceration, depending on what state you are in and whether you have any other impaired driving citations on your record. Depending on the circumstances, your refusal may also be submitted as evidence of your intoxication should your criminal case go to trial. All of these consequences are serious. As a result, it is usually not in your best interest to refuse a breath test even if you are intoxicated at the time of your traffic stop. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be in a better position to help you navigate a possible drunk driving conviction successfully than a breath test refusal case. Source: Findlaw Blotter, “What Happens If You Refuse a DUI Breath Test?” Betty Wang, Oct. 25, 2013

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