As drunk driving accidents continue to be prevalent in today’s society, the authorities are always looking for a reason to stop drivers. Once a stop occurs, police officers rely on a multitude of tests in order to determine, in their opinion, whether a motorist is intoxicated. The results of these tests are then handed off to prosecutors who will use them as evidence to buttress their DUI cases. Therefore, knowing about and fully understanding these tests is critical to those who have been accused of driving under the influence, as there may be ways to attack their validity.
One of the most common tests administered to suspected drunk drivers is the breathalyzer test. During this test, a machine measures the amount of detectable alcohol on an individual’s breath, then uses that to calculate his or her blood-alcohol content. It sounds very scientific, but the truth of the matter is that these tests are not as reliable as blood tests.
In fact, some studies have suggested that breath tests can be off by as much as 50 percent when compared to a blood test. This margin of error means that an individual may be found to be over the legal limit when he or she is not or that an individual is not over the legal limit when he or she is.
Making matters worse, far too often police officers fail to ensure that breathalyzer machines are properly calibrated and follow other testing procedures. These errors can further exacerbate a test’s inaccuracy, putting a motorist at risk of being slapped with serious criminal charges.
A DUI charge can cause seriously damage an individual’s life, especially if a conviction is obtained. It not only affects his or her ability to drive, but it might also lead to jail time and significant fines, as well as a mark on one’s criminal record that can affect housing and employment.
Yet, even those who are up against what seems like the strongest evidence may be able to craft a compelling criminal defense strategy that attacks the validity of the prosecution’s evidence. When this happens, reduced charges or an acquittal may be available. For assistance with developing a legal strategy that leaves a defendant as well-positioned as possible, accused individuals may want to speak to a qualified criminal defense attorney.