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A DUI charge can be questioned over a breath test reading

Let us assume that law enforcement stopped you on suspicion of drunk driving, and you agreed to submit to a breath test. You did not think this would be a problem because you had only consumed one beer before getting behind the wheel.

You were appalled to find that the Breathalyzer recorded your blood alcohol content as 0.09 percent, which is above the legal limit. Now you have to fight the DUI charge.

Going over the facts

Your criminal defense attorney will examine all the facts about the drunk driving incident, including the potential for mistakes during the traffic stop. Police officers are human, they can indeed make mistakes, but the Breathalyzer machine could also be the source of an error.

The Philadelphia Breathalyzer issue

In 2016, a private attorney notified the Philadelphia police that they were using breath test machines in which the calibrations had expired. The machines have to be recalibrated annually using bottles of a special solution, which is necessary to ensure the accuracy of blood alcohol readings.

Authorities removed the machines with calibration errors from service immediately to correct the issue. However, this happened after it had already affected hundreds of DUI cases. Defense attorneys would be able to argue that the inaccurate readings were inadmissible in court.

Other considerations

Calibration is not the only issue with a Breathalyzer. Low batteries can also throw the reading off. Furthermore, if your metabolism was low because your body was still trying to absorb the one beer you enjoyed, or if you had rinsed with mouthwash within 20 minutes of taking the test, or if various other conditions were present when you took it, the reading might not be accurate.

There is a single offense for driving under the influence in the state of Florida, and your BAC level is one of the factors that will determine the penalties if you receive a conviction. This is why examination of the Breathalyzer is so important: The accuracy of the reading can make or break your court case.

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