Breathalyzer Law: Proper Maintenance and DUI Defense

In DUI arrests, it is common for police officers to use a breathalyzer in order to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). As a general rule, if you "blow" above a .08 BAC on a breathalyzer test, you can be found guilty of DUI or DWI. For children under 21, a BAC reading of anything above 0 percent can also result in DUI charges under zero tolerance laws. While a breathalyzer is a useful tool in the fight against drunk drivers, it is also important to make sure that the legal rights of all driver's are protected. As such, breathalyzer law is in place to make sure that no one is unfairly arrested for DUI charges they don't deserve.

Breathalyzer Law

  • A breathalyzer is a piece of machinery, and like all machines, it can fail or be imperfect. 

As such, there are requirements that a breathalyzer be calibrated and maintained on a regular basis. These requirements may be set forth by the manufacturers of the breathalyzer, or each police station or state may have mandates on when and how a breathalyzer machine must be calibrated.

If a breathalyzer machine is not properly calibrated according to the manufacturers schedule or the required maintenance schedule, a person who is arrested for DUI may use this as a defense against the DUI charges. If it is believed that there was some reason the test reading wasn't accurate, then the DUI charges may be dropped. 

  • Police offers aren't infallible either

A police officer is a human being just like anyone else, susceptible to making human error. To minimize the possibility that a police officer will make a mistake in reading a breathalyzer, generally he is required to undergo somewhat routine training to ensure that he is certified in conducting the BAC test. If an officer misses his training or has not been adequately trained in the use of the breathalyzer machine, a DUI defendant may also use this fact as a defense against a DUI. 

Getting Help

The rules regarding breathalyzers provide a number of opportunities for a defendant who is accused of DUI to build a defense against the charges. If you have been arrested for DUI, you should contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Defenses based on a faulty breathalyzer can be technical and can require expert witnesses, so you'll want a lawyer who can help you to collect evidence and who can assist you in proving your case in court. 

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