Drivers often fear that a DUI conviction is a foregone conclusion based on what measures officers used when building a case. Many drivers facing a DUI charge consider breath tests or chemical tests that analyze blood, saliva or urine irrefutable evidence. Fortunately for those accused of a crime, these tests are not beyond reproach.
While every interaction with law enforcement is unique, Florida drivers could face numerous common factors where breath tests are involved, including:
- Was the law enforcement officer properly trained on the machine’s operation? No matter the type of testing equipment, the machinery requires thorough training and careful operation. One of the first questions an experienced criminal defense attorney will ask is whether the law enforcement officer was properly trained in how to operate the machine to arrive at valid, reliable results.
- Was the machine properly maintained between uses? Between uses, the breath test equipment must be cleaned, stored and calibrated. If the officer fails to correctly complete any of these actions, it could lead to a contamination of the results of the next test.
- Did any environmental factors influence the results? While a field sobriety test is largely dependent on subjective observations, the DUI breath test results give a clear number in their readout. Unfortunately, environmental factors can contaminate the results. These factors can include the presence of acetone on the clothing or paint fumes in the air.
- Did any personal factors influence the results? Based on the different types of medication an individual has recently taken or food or drink the driver has ingested, these factors could potentially impact the validity of a breath test result.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer will not simply accept breath test or chemical test results as conclusive evidence. These results must be questioned and challenged at every stage in the process.