If you get pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence, you will need to take a breathalyzer test. It is possible to refuse a breathalyzer test, but this often leads to additional legal complications.
Generally speaking, the breathalyzer results determine whether or not the courts will charge you with DWI. Depending on your specific circumstances, it may be possible for you to challenge breathalyzer results. According to FindLaw, the most common challenges to breathalyzer results either relate to the functionality of the breathalyzer or the qualifications of the officer administering the breathalyzer.
How can I challenge breathalyzer functionality?
If your DWI case goes to court, you need to ensure the jury looks at all the facts. For instance, it is possible that the breathalyzer the officer used on you was not reliable. For example, an Ohio judge ruled in 2013 that a certain brand of breathalyzer the state police were using was not producing scientifically reliable measurements.
Even if the device itself is working properly, the officer must have calibrated it to produce correct readings. Generally, a police officer provides testimony stating that the breathalyzer was properly calibrated at the time of your arrest. If a police officer cannot do this, then the court will disregard the reading.
How can I challenge the officer’s qualifications?
Any officer who uses a breathalyzer must have training in the use of the device. Just like you can challenge a speeding ticket if the officer in question has not gone through training in the use of radar guns, you can do the same thing with breathalyzers. Additionally, if the breathalyzer test was part of an illegal search, the courts may not consider the results.