In many cases, the majority of a state’s claim that an individual was driving under the influence of alcohol rests on the breathalyzer results. However, just like it is possible to challenge radar gun results in speeding ticket cases, it is also possible to challenge a breathalyzer results in drunk-driving cases.
Typically, there are two main ways to challenge breathalyzer results. According to FindLaw, they are either challenging the reliability of the breathalyzer or challenging the officer’s right to perform the breathalyzer test in the first place.
How can I challenge the reliability of the breathalyzer?
Breathalyzers are machines, and like all machines they possess the capability for malfunction or failure. In some instances, defendants have been able to prove that the breathalyzer a police force was using had inherent faults. In a case in Iowa, for example, the defendant was able to blow a “high” reading on the breathalyzer in court while completely sober.
Breathalyzers also need to be properly calibrated before use. Usually, a police officer will provide testimony swearing that an officer performed the calibration. If the police cannot offer such testimony, often the court will throw the breathalyzer results out.
How can I challenge the officer’s right to perform the test?
First, any police officer who conducts a breathalyzer test must have breathalyzer training. If the officer who performed your test did not have appropriate training, it is possible that the courts will consider the breathalyzer results unreliable.
Additionally, the police must administer any breathalyzer test in a legal manner. The police must prove that they had probable cause to give you the breathalyzer test.