Failing a Breathalyzer test during a traffic stop is a serious matter that may affect many areas of a person’s life, if it results in a conviction. However, Breathalyzers are not accurate in all circumstances, and other aspects of a traffic stop may offer opportunities to challenge the results. If you recently received charges after a failed Breathalyzer test, now is the time to begin building your defense.
Even if you think the evidence against you is fairly strong, a well-built legal strategy can help keep your rights secure as you fight to protect your assets and criminal record. The sooner you begin building your defense, the sooner you can request the evidence against you and identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. If you choose to wait even another day, you may not have time to formally request and receive the evidence against you, which gives your prosecutor a great advantage, so be sure to make this your first priority as soon as possible.
Poor calibration and other technical failures
A Breathalyzer may produce fairly strong results, but there are many circumstances that can significantly reduce the device’s accuracy. Without receiving proper calibration on a regular basis, Breathalyzers quickly produce inaccurate results.
It is also possible for a device to return bad results if some part of the device malfunctions because of poor maintenance. Police are required to keep their Breathalyzers properly calibrated and maintained, but not all officers and departments carry this out. Looking at your own traffic stop, consider any reasons you might have to question the calibration or maintenance of your testing device.
There are other, less common occurrences that can lead to inaccurate results. For instance, a person who uses mouthwash containing alcohol shortly before a Breathalyzer test may fail the test but still be completely sober. Likewise, some individuals suffer from medical conditions that create chemical compounds similar to alcohol in their digestive systems.
Operator error and protocol violations
A properly calibrated and maintained Breathalyzer can still return inaccurate results if misused by the officer administering the test. Any officer who administers these tests must have proper training on using the device, and must follow proper protocols when initiating the test and throughout their interaction with a suspect.
You may have grounds to challenge your charges if your arresting officer misused a Breathalyzer during your stop, or if they lacked probable cause to stop you in the first place. In some instances, it is useful to question whether the officer observed you for a long enough time before initiating the Breathalyzer test.
As with any police interaction, it is important to remember that you have personal rights that deserve protection. If your arresting officer violated your rights in any way during your stop or subsequent arrest, you may have an opportunity to challenge police misconduct.
Defending yourself against your charges is not only about protecting your rights, but also the rights of others, particularly if your arrest involves intentional or negligent misconduct by law enforcement. However you choose to move forward, be sure to act now. You’ll never have more time than you do right now to examine the evidence against you and use the strength of the law to fight your charges.