Breath Test Device Not Maintained Properly

You could be in serious trouble if you are arrested for drunk driving in Missouri. The offense of driving under the influence in Missouri is punishable by fines, loss of driving privileges, potential jail term, among other potential administrative penalties. Fortunately, not all DWI arrests in Missouri lead to successful convictions. With a positive defense, a defendant can persuade the prosecutor to drop or reduce the charges. With the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney who is experienced with DWI laws in Missouri, a defendant can implement a viable defense that may lead to an acquittal. You can fight DWI charges by contesting the results obtained from breath test instruments. It’s possible for a breath test device to sometimes give completely inaccurate results. If a defense attorney can demonstrate that the breathalyzer was faulty, you may be able to get the results obtained from the device excluded from key evidence.

In some cases, breath tests have been established to be an unreliable way of determining blood alcohol content (BAC) as compared to a blood test. A faulty breathalyzer can provide false positives and a DWI lawyer knows how to identify those deficiencies in a trial. In fact, breath test instruments do not accurately measure BAC but rather estimate a person’s BAC. The results of a breath test are also subject to change due to respiration rate and body temperature. Sometimes, the instrument is only measuring the residual alcohol in your mouth and not the alcohol in your blood at all. The following are some of the ways in which breath test instruments can be defective:

    • Improper calibration of the breath test device. The device must be calibrated properly to reflect the surrounding air temperature and humidity level.
    • An improperly cleaned breath test device due to foreign substances being present.
    • Malfunctioned fuel cell sensors
    • Semiconductor sensors reading false positives.
    • Defective breathalyzer sensor technology which could lead to interference from cellphones and the officer’s radio waves.

If a police officer uses an improperly calibrated breath test instrument, there is a likelihood of obtaining inaccurate and inconsistent results. Besides, if the device is not adjusted to account for outside factors such as air temperatures, it can give inaccurate readings. No matter how small the discrepancies are, they could mean the difference between guilt and innocence, especially if your test results are close to the legal limit.

If the defense attorney can demonstrate that the arresting officer did not follow the required calibration procedures, the court can determine that breathalyzer results are inadmissible as evidence. This is also applicable if the device in question can be shown to give erroneous readings consistently.

Many drivers wrongly assume that if a breathalyzer test indicates an alcohol content exceeding the acceptable limit they are as good as guilty of drunk driving. That is not always the case because breathalyzer tests can be challenged on various grounds. In order to implement this defense effectively, you may require the expertise of a professional criminal defense attorney who understands Missouri laws. The attorney may subpoena the records to see if there were discrepancies in calibration or maintenance

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