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Can you challenge a breath test?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Drunk Driving

When a person is pulled over because a law enforcement officer suspects that they have been drunk driving, there are several tools that the police officer may use to determine the status of the driver. Initially, they may conduct an interview to talk to the driver and find out what they’ve been doing.

From there, the officer may ask the person to take a field sobriety test. They may also request a breath test. When it comes to breath tests, there are two primary devices. One of these is the preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device. The other is the stationary breath test machine that’s often found at a police station or jail.

What’s the difference between testing devices?

The PAS device isn’t considered accurate enough to be the basis for a criminal charge. These devices aren’t usually calibrated. Even if they are, the calibration can be affected as they’re transported. If these are part of the criminal case against someone, they can likely be successfully be challenged.

By contrast, stationary breath test devices are more highly regulated. They must be properly calibrated on a specific schedule and the test must be administered by someone who’s trained on its operation. Despite all that, these can be challenged if the calibration records don’t show that the calibrations were done as required. The training of the person who performs the test and the method they use may also be challenged in court.

Being able to challenge a breath test is only one possible defense strategy component that a defendant may have available to them. Learning about all their options may help them to piece together a defense that they feel accurately represents their position.