If you fail a Breathalyzer test during a traffic stop, you typically receive drunk driving charges immediately. In the moment, you may feel as though there is nothing you can do to fight the charges and that your conviction is an open and shut case, but this is not always true.
While Breathalyzer results qualify as strong evidence in the eyes of the court, there are several factors that may affect the accuracy of these devices, and it is always wise to examine every aspect of the evidence against you as you build a legal defense.
Breathalyzers are fallible devices
When a Breathalyzer receives regular maintenance and calibration, it can produce accurate results most of the time. However, if a device does not receive proper attention, it falls out of calibration over time, or may malfunction due to poor upkeep.
As you review the evidence against you, consider each part of your traffic stop carefully. If you find any reason to believe that the Breathalyzer used in your sobriety test was not properly calibrated or maintained, you may have grounds to challenge the results.
A Breathalyzer also may produce inaccurate results if the officer administering the test does not use the device properly. All police who administer these tests must undergo training to operate these devices, but improper usage still occurs from time to time.
Consider violations to your rights
Even if you cannot find any grounds to challenge the accuracy of your Breathalyzer results, you may have grounds to challenge other aspects of your interaction with your arresting officer. If, for instance, the officer violated your constitutional rights in some way, or abused you physically, this may strengthen your defense.
Courts give police some flexibility when it comes to enforcing the law, but it is always important to fight against violations of your rights by law enforcement. When civilians allow law enforcement to violate their rights without fighting back against this treatment, this only allows the behavior to continue. Fighting back against unfair treatment by law enforcement not only helps preserve your personal rights, but also strengthens the rights of others who may not have the resources or courage to fight for themselves.
Building your defense is a serious matter, and you should make it a priority to keep your rights secure. With a clear understanding of the legal tools you have to protect yourself and a strong legal strategy, you stand a much better chance of seeing your charges dismissed or reduced. If you do nothing to defend yourself, then you are at the mercy of a prosecutor with a career built on securing convictions. Be sure to use all the tools and resources at your disposal to protect your rights and the rights of others.