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Inaccurate alcohol breath tests are being challenged

As part of due process, there must be evidence that a crime was committed in order for it to be prosecuted. Evidence can include testimony from the arresting police officer or a witness as well as police reports.

For cases involving a DUI, the results of an alcohol breath test are typically introduced in a court hearing, because a test can allegedly reveal the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration at the time of the arrest. Under Arizona law, a person with a BAC of 0.08% or higher is considered to be legally too drunk to drive. In many cases, a defense will tend to focus on removing the test from evidence by attacking the integrity of the test.

A rising issue

The attacks on the tests are not unfounded. Within the past few years, alcohol breath tests results have been found to be inaccurate due to the unreliability of the devices. In some instances, an officer may make a mistake when using the device, rendering the test unusable, or the device itself may be faulty due to an error made during manufacturing.

Recent court actions

After years of reports that the devices were providing inaccurate results, some state courts are questioning the test results. As a result, many DUI convictions are being thrown out due to the doubts surrounding the tests’ integrity. There is a push to not allow the tests to be entered in as evidence. In some states, there is also an opening for those convicted of a DUI to challenge the tests after an initial conviction and be granted a new trial.

Other drunk driving defenses

The penalties for a DUI are quite high and can include license suspension, jail time and fines. While the alcohol breath test may be found to not be useable as evidence in court, there are other methods and strategies that can be used to defend the driver and potentially get the case dismissed in court. Speaking with a skilled defense lawyer can help those accused of drunk driving to discuss their options and develop a defense.