Experienced DUI defense lawyers know that breath tests are generally unreliable and are much more unreliable than a blood test. Law enforcement and prosecutors in South Carolina believe that the breathalyzer instrument is infallible, but the breathalyzer machine just like any other machine can malfunction from time to time.  Just like laboratory equipment that scientists use in their labs, the breathalyzer machine must be calibrated and inspected regularly to ensure it is working properly.

An experienced DUI lawyer could push the government to prove the machine was working properly at the time a test was administered before a test result is shown to a jury.

Are Breathalyzers Accurate?

The most common misconception about the breathalyzer is that it is accurate. In fact, breathalyzers are very susceptible to incorrect readings and false positive. Certain gastrointestinal conditions, like GERD, or certain medications like a prescribed inhaler, can cause false positives or inaccurate breath test scores.

Other Indicators of Intoxication

There are other, better indicators that a juror or prosecutor should consider in determining whether someone is under the influence, like slurred speech and difficulty maintaining one’s balance. If the conduct of a driver charged with DUI is inconsistent with what a typical person would look or sound like if at the same BAC registered by the breathalyzer, it is possible the machine was not working properly at the time of the test.

An experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the weaknesses and inconsistencies of Charleston DUI breathalyzers could work to dismiss any evidence related to roadside breath test results

Calibrating Breathalyzers

In addition to the inherent inexactness of breathalyzer, a defense attorney may also challenge whether a breathalyzer has been correctly calibrated. Machines are calibrated according to the state law enforcement division guidelines.  Just as with any scientific testing equipment, calibration is vital to ensure reliability.

If an attorney uncovers evidence that a breathalyzer has not been properly calibrated, they may be able to have the results of the breathalyzer test dismissed as evidence. An individual is always allowed to challenge any evidence the government offers or tries to offer at a DUI trial.

Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer?

Motorists absolutely have a right to refuse a breathalyzer test and appeal any suspension as a result of that refusal. Importantly, however, law enforcement officials are under no obligation to inform a motorist of that right during a traffic stop. Drivers should learn the full legal protections they enjoy on the road and be ready to exercise those rights when necessary.

An Attorney Could Challenge a Charleston DUI Breathalyzer Test

If you are facing DUI charges following the results of a roadside breathalyzer test, consider reaching out to an attorney for help. A criminal defense lawyer could be integral to having the test results dismissed by a judge or otherwise mitigating their effect on a case. By retaining an attorney, you may be able to avoid a negative outcome at trial and preserve your future to the furthest extent possible. Call today to schedule a consultation.