Powerful Defenses Against Breathalyzer Evidence

Dec 14, 2020 | DUI Defense

Blowing Above .08 Doesn’t Mean You’ve Blown It

If Colorado Springs police arrest you on DUI charges after failing a breathalyzer test, all is not lost. An experienced DUI attorney can present several powerful defenses against breathalyzer evidence.

Like all machines, breathalyzers can malfunction and produce inaccurate results. Police officers can, and often do, make mistakes when pulling people over, making an arrest, or administering tests to determine a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). These errors can form the foundation of a successful DUI defense when they create doubt about the reliability or admissibility of breathalyzer evidence.

But challenges to breathalyzer evidence don’t present themselves. Police and prosecutors won’t admit they did something wrong or that the machine produced bad results. That takes an aggressive, skilled, and knowledgeable Colorado Springs DUI defense lawyer who understands the law as well as the science behind breathalyzers.

Here are three defenses against breathalyzer evidence your DUI attorney can use to get your charges dropped or even obtain an acquittal.

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Challenging The Legality Of The Traffic Stop

Colorado Springs police officers cannot pull you over unless there is a lawful reason to do so. If you were lawfully pulled over for a simple traffic violation like speeding, running a stop sign, or a broken tail light, that does not give the officer the right to test your blood alcohol content. Police must have a reasonable suspicion that you are impaired, such as slurred speech, glassy eyes, or an open container, before they can legally administer a breathalyzer test.

If the stop was improper, an El Paso County or Teller County judge can find that everything that followed, including breathalyzer test results, is “fruit from the poisonous tree.” This means that an illegal stop can be the domino that knocks the whole case down.

Police Violated Your Miranda Rights

If the police ask you questions designed to solicit incriminating responses after your arrest (called a “custodial interrogation”), they must inform you of your constitutional rights beforehand. You’ve likely heard TV and movie cops read suspects their Miranda rights (“You have the right to remain silent…”) a thousand times. If the officer doesn’t advise you of your Miranda rights, a judge may hold that any admissions or any incriminating statements you made in the absence of such notice to be inadmissible as evidence, and may be a valuable defense against breathalyzer evidence as well.

Casting Doubt On The Accuracy Of Your Breathalyzer Test Results

Many people arrested for DUI see a breathalyzer test result above the legal limit of .08 as the nail in their DUI coffin. However, the reality is that the breath testing machines used by Colorado Springs police are notoriously unreliable and prone to incorrect readings.

Courts can disregard and throw out evidence that is of dubious accuracy. Several things can taint the reliability of breathalyzer test results, including improper test administration, inadequate maintenance and calibration of the device, and external and biological factors. Your DUI defense attorney can raise the following defenses against breathalyzer evidence by casting doubt on the:

  • Timing of the breathalyzer test
  • Qualifications, experience, and training of the test administrator
  • Calibration, maintenance, and testing of the breathalyzer
  • Procedures followed when administering the test
  • Chain of custody of test samples or likelihood of contamination
  • Independent biological factors that may impact blood alcohol readings, including naturally occurring “mouth alcohol,” diet, acid reflux, and breathing patterns.

Don’t Forfeit Your Defenses Against Breathalyzer Evidence

No matter how grim things may look to you, there is always hope. At James Newby Law, our DUI attorneys believe that questionable breathalyzer test results or mistakes by Colorado police should not be allowed to determine the fate of someone accused of driving under the influence. Purt our experience to work for you today.