The legal blood alcohol concentration limit in the United States is 0.08% across all states. The legal limit for someone under the age of 21 is 0%. If the test returns a level higher than this, the person is guilty of driving under the influence; however, what if the test is inaccurate? Should the result be thrown out and the charges dismissed?
It is a perfectly valid defense to question the validity of these test results, especially when the stakes of a DUI conviction are so great. There are a few important points that people should remember in order to successfully question the accuracy of these tests.
The Alcohol Breath Test Can Make Mistakes
There are several reasons that people could point to in order to questions the validity of an alcohol breath test.
· The temperature of the air: The temperature of the air can impact the accuracy of the breath test results. In fact, the instructions on the breath test state that they are most accurate if within a certain temperature range. While this range varies by equipment, it is important that people think about the air temperature outside. If it was outside the recommended range, the results might be thrown out.
· The amount of breath exhaled: The equipment needs a certain amount of breath from the individual in order to make an accurate determination regarding the test results. If the volume was too low, the test isn’t accurate. This is another possibility when setting up a legal defense.
· The device must be calibrated properly: When the device is used, it isn’t measuring an exact number. It is comparing the sample to its calibration and assumes the calibration is perfect. Ideally, this would return accurate results; however, if the calibration isn’t accurate, then every measurement taken is compared to an inaccurate standard. Thus, every result is also inaccurate.
Blood Tests Can Be Inaccurate
Similar to the breath test, the blood test can make mistakes as well.
· Improper Storage: When blood cells are stored incorrectly, the blood can ferment and actually create more alcohol. This can give a falsely high reading.
· The margin of error on test results: All test results should be reported with a margin of error because no test is perfect. If the test results did not include a margin of error or the margin of error includes a legal value, this could be argued in court.
· When the measurement was taken: Ultimately, the blood test might be too long after the person was arrested to draw any conclusions about the BAC level behind the wheel.
In the end, there are several ways that someone could potentially fight a DUI charge. Questioning the validity of the tests is a viable defense. Contact an experienced attorney for more information on providing the best legal defense possible.