Arkansas is our home, and we look out for our neighbors.

5 reasons a DUI defense attorney can challenge a roadside breath test

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | DWI Defense

Facing DWI charges can be a stressful experience, especially for college students in Little Rock. A key piece of evidence in many drunken driving cases is the breathalyzer test, but did you know this evidence can sometimes be challenged in court? Here are five reasons why a DUI defense attorney might be able to contest the results of a roadside breath test.

Problems with the breath test device

Jurors are allowed to assess the reliability of all evidence, including breathalyzer results. There have been instances where devices showed inaccurate readings. With thorough research, your attorney might convince the court to question the accuracy of the breath test device used in your traffic stop.

The officer did not calibrate the device properly

Breathalyzers, like any electronic measuring tools, require regular calibration to ensure accurate measurements of blood alcohol concentration (BAC). During your defense, the prosecution must prove that the device was correctly calibrated during your DWI arrest. If they fail to do so, the breath test results could be invalidated.

Lack of experience or training

The effectiveness of a breathalyzer test heavily depends on the operator’s training. If the officer was not adequately trained or lacked experience handling DUI stops, they could easily have made a mistake during your test that skewed the results.

Illegal traffic stop

Even if the breathalyzer was calibrated and the officer trained, the test might still be excluded if there was no probable cause for its administration. Before a police officer can give you a roadside breath test, they must have had a reasonable suspicion that you were committing a crime to stop you. They then must have probable cause to believe you were intoxicated, such as by observing you driving erratically or smelling alcohol on your breath. Without these, the breath test results are “fruit of the poisonous tree” — illegally obtained evidence that could be thrown out of court.

The officer does not show up to court

Under the Sixth Amendment, you have the right to confront any witnesses against you, including the officer who administered your breathalyzer test. If the officer who conducted the test is not present in court, and another officer who did not perform the test testifies instead, your defense attorney might challenge the breath test evidence as a violation of your constitutional rights.

If you’re dealing with DWI charges, your choice of defense lawyer can make a big difference in how your case turns out. Make sure it is someone with plenty of experience defending against drinking and driving charges.