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Breathalyzer issues could benefit your drunk driving case

You looked forward to friends coming to Dayton to visit you. However, on a recent dinner outing, you and your pals were having so much fun catching up that you had a little too much to drink.

Unfortunately, you were driving, and on the way home, law enforcement stopped you on suspicion of OVI. You had to take a breathalyzer test, and the results were not good—but were they accurate?

Looking at inaccuracies

The breathalyzer test showed that your blood alcohol concentration level was 0.08%, the legal limit for operating a vehicle while impaired. This is your first offense, and you are very nervous, thinking of the penalties you face, such as stiff fines, license suspension and even the possibility of jail time. However, you should look into your legal options without delay. The law enforcement officer may have made a mistake during your arrest. There is also a possibility that the breathalyzer was not calibrated properly. An incident in Philadelphia shows how this could occur.

The out-of-date solution

In the summer of 2016, an attorney informed the Philadelphia police that the dates on the breathalyzer machines used had expired. Therefore, the test results could not be considered accurate. To be specific, the solution used to establish accurate blood concentration levels was out of date. The police immediately removed the breathalyzers from service and sent them out to have the problem corrected. Fresh solution went into the machines, and they were back in service the same day.

Why it mattered

The lawyer who discovered the equipment problem pointed out that even if breathalyzer test results were accurate, the expired solution would enable defense attorneys to argue that the test results were inadmissible as evidence in a DUI court case.

Looking forward

If the breathalyzer on which you took your test was not maintained correctly, if the person who gave you the test was not trained properly or if the machine was not properly calibrated, you could benefit. As the Philadelphia incident showed, your test results could be inadmissible as evidence and your penalties reduced or your case dismissed altogether.

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