Often, people consider breathalyzers in West Palm Beach DUI cases to make or break a person’s defense, but that is not always true. Breathalyzers, like any other bit of technology, come with their own problems and are not always accurate. Factors like residual blood alcohol, or the presence of substances like mouthwash or cough syrup in a person’s mouth can affect someone’s breathalyzer result. If you have been charged with a DUI based on an inaccurate breathalyzer test, contact a West Palm Beach DUI lawyer to discuss your options.
Reliability of Breathalyzers
Breathalyzers in West Palm Beach cases are considered reliable or unreliable depending on who a person asks. A law enforcement officer or a DUI patrolman will say that it is the best, most reliable instrument and the only way to accurately determine a person’s blood alcohol level. Defense attorneys, however, believe that they are not reliable instruments and they are not a good indicator of breath alcohol levels. The results vary from person to person. The machines are not calibrated for different variances in each person.
History of Breathalyzer Machine Accuracy
Technology has been basically static for the last 20 years. Many DUI cases have been dismissed or reduced because of problems with the accuracy of breathalyzers in West Palm Beach. It can be a cycle. Lawyers will find problems with the instrument or the rules regulating the testing, maintenance or calibration of them. The rules are challenged or thrown out and then when the rules or the procedures are changed, then attorneys have to find new challenges.
There have been issues with the maintenance of the machines, or the rules regarding the regulation of the machines and the operations of the machines. It takes an experienced DUI attorney to say whether or not the particular machine that was used during an incident was accurate and reliable. Attorneys know the history of the machine, how the court responds to those machines and whether or not juries and courts believe that they are reliable.
Common Misconceptions About Breathalyzers
The most common misconception about breathalyzers is that they are accurate and reliable. It is not the most accurate test in the world. If it were, the instrument would be in hospitals and doctors’ offices. Instead, in medical settings, they use blood tests or urine tests and conduct scientifically reliable toxicology tests by a licensed toxicologist.
Furthermore, there is the misconception that once someone takes a test, they are stuck with the results. That is not true. Individuals are allowed to get testing done in independent labs.
Lastly, there is the misconception that an individual must take a breathalyzer test when they are asked. Breathalyzers in DUI cases in West Palm Beach are optional, and while an individual is supposed to take the breathalyzer, they do have the right to refuse. That being said, there are legal consequences for refusing.
Residents should know they have a right to say no, and that if they do take a breathalyzer test, they have the right to an independent blood test at the same time. It is up to the law enforcement agency to provide reasonable assistance in order for them to obtain an independent blood or urine test if they request one and are willing to pay for it.
If an independent blood test is requested by a person arrested for a DUI, but they are denied reasonable assistance, then the Government cannot use those test results because they did not allow the person to get independent test results for himself or herself. There are consequences for not taking a breath test, but if the person does take the test, they also have the right to an independent blood test if they want one and could pay for one.
If you have any questions about breathalyzers in West Palm Beach DUI cases, and how refusing to take a breathalyzer test can affect your case, get in touch with a skilled attorney today. A lawyer can work diligently to defend your case.