Challenging Breathalyzer Results

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Challenging Breathalyzer Results in Savannah, GA

Understanding the Ways in Which You Can Challenge DUI Evidence

If you have been arrested for DUI after failing a chemical test, it is important that you enlist the help of an experienced lawyer immediately thereafter. In doing so, you will have the chance to challenge the validity of the evidence that is being held against you.

When looking at the results of a breath test, you can argue that the results may be inaccurate if:

  • The officer was not qualified to administer the test;
  • The machine had malfunctioned; and/or
  • The machine was not properly calibrated.

The same principles would apply when examining the validity of a blood test, and your attorney could even move to have the evidence thrown out if the "chain of custody" was not properly documented—which means who had possession of the blood sample, for how long, etc. Each of these factors is crucial to the success of the prosecution's argument, so you should not hesitate to take a closer look at the evidence involved in your case.

How accurate is the Intoxilyzer 5000?

Since 1995, the only approved breath testing device in the state of Georgia was the Intoxilyzer 5000, which is manufactured by CMI, Inc. Due to the fact that the technology used in the Georgia Model Intoxilyzer 5000 is not expected to meet the future requirements for Georgia's breath testing program, Georgia law enforcement will be making the gradual transition from the Georgia Model Intoxilyzer 5000 to the Georgia Model Intoxilyzer 9000 by the end of 2015. According to the GBI Crime Laboratory, there are significant reasons why the Intoxilyzer 5000 needs to be replaced, some of which include the fact that some of its original components are no longer produced by the manufacturer.

Additionally, the design of the Georgia Model Intoxilyzer 5000 no longer meets the evolving need for digital information from the legal community, which significantly limits the device's capabilities. Breathalyzers do not directly measure BAC, which would require analyzing a blood sample. Instead, breathalyzers estimate BAC indirectly by measuring the amount of alcohol in someone's breath. While these devices are useful to law enforcement, they are prone to error and can produce false readings, particularly when they are not adjusted properly or when they have not been recalibrated for extended periods of time.

Another major problem is non-specificity. This means that the machine fails to distinguish between ethyl alcohol and ethanol found in alcoholic beverages and other substances with a similar molecular structure, such as cough syrup or mouth wash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that even some natural volatile interfering compounds can result in false readings. For example, dieters and diabetics produce high levels of acetone; acetone is one of a number of substances which can be falsely identified as ethyl alcohol by some of the breath testing devices on the market.

What if the officer did not have probable cause to stop me?

Another way in which you can successfully challenge BAC test results is to prove that they shouldn't have been administered in the first place. Since the Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures, law enforcement must always have a legitimate reason to make a traffic stop.

While they would have the right to conduct a DUI investigation even if they had stopped you for an unrelated reason, such as any of the following, a law enforcement officer cannot stop drivers at random in the hope that they are intoxicated:

  • You ran a red light
  • Your registration was not current
  • Your taillight was not functioning

Get the Information You Need. Call (912) 385-0854

For this reason, it is highly recommended that you discuss every facet of your case with a Savannah DUI lawyer from The Schneider Law Firm as soon as you have been placed under arrest. In doing so, you can ensure that your rights have not been violated and that all BAC results will be thoroughly examined and/or challenged when necessary. To find out how our firm can help, just give us a call at (912) 385-0854. From there, our firm will work diligently to ensure that you are provided with the aggressive defense that you deserve.

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