Are BAC Tests Reliable?16 Feb 2018, by DUI in
Written by Timothy Czekaj
Pennsylvania police can pull you over for suspected DUI if they have probable cause that you are intoxicated. This can happen if you are driving unsteadily, erratically, or if you miss a stop sign, among other reasons. However, a conviction usually requires better proof of intoxication, and the strongest piece of evidence in a DUI prosecution is usually the results of a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test. However, BAC tests can be performed improperly, and your results may be inaccurate and unfairly used against you. If you are facing a conviction for DUI, you will need a skilled and experienced attorney who understands BAC tests and can protect your rights from throughout the legal process.
Breathalyzer Tests Are Often Inaccurate
Being pulled over can be intimidating, and it can get worse when you are subjected to roadside tests to determine if you are intoxicated. Breathalyzers are meant to determine your BAC by taking a sample of your breath. Police frequently use these devices since they are small enough to fit in someone’s pocket. Therefore, they can be available at the scene of the stop. However, there are many requirements for a breath test to be accurate, and these requirements are often not met. If you are facing a bad breathalyzer result after a DUI, your lawyer must know how to investigate your case and determine what arguments can be made in your defense.
Some of the reasons for which your breath test may be unreliable include:
- The police did not spend enough time observing you before administering the test. Officers must spend time with you before using a breathalyzer in order to make sure that you don’t burp or vomit which can introduce stomach content into your breath that will make your sample an inaccurate representation of your BAC.
- Outside substances were present in your test. Certain items such as medicine, cough drops, and even fruit can make your breath test read an inaccurately high BAC.
- The device was damaged or not properly maintained by police before it was used on you.
Blood and Urine Tests Are Frequently Performed Improperly
Law enforcement can subject you to a blood or urine test if you are detained for a suspected DUI. These tests are usually conducted at the police station or at a clinic, and they are performed to find a ratio of alcohol to blood or urine in your body. Urine tests are quite rare in part because their reliability has serious problems even if the person administering the test is experienced and understands proper procedure.
There are actually many requirements for performing a legitimate blood or urine test, and since officers often do not understand or abide by these requirements, the results of many of these tests may be put into question. A skilled DUI lawyer who understands how blood and urine tests must be performed will be able to make sure that you are not unfairly subjected to a test result that was improperly obtained. These tests can be unreliable due to many factors such as:
- The blood or urine sample was not properly collected, and it was tainted with an outside substance.
- The sample was stored improperly after being collected.
- Your test was not performed within the proper time frame after your stop, so therefore its reading can be skewed by the breakdown of certain substances in your system.
- The device used for the test was damaged or not properly maintained or operated. These machines can be complex, and many officers do not learn how to properly use them.
- Your sample was negligently handled and may have been mistakenly switched with that of someone else.
A DUI Lawyer Can Help You After A DUI Arrest
BAC tests are understood to be some of the strongest evidence against a defendant charged with DUI, but a skilled lawyer understands that they are often unreliable. If it is shown in court that there is a problem with how your BAC test was performed or handled, its results can be thrown out, and your charges can be lowered or dismissed. It is important for your lawyer to take the time to investigate your case. Because of this, you should not hesitate to seek legal help immediately after an arrest.
Czekaj Law, LLC has helped many clients fight serious DUI charges in central Pennsylvania, and we know what you’re going through during this complex and intimidating process. To speak with an experienced lawyer today, contact us today at (717) 275-9770 .