Did the breathalyzer malfunction during your arrest for DWI?

In the state of Louisiana, the law requires a breath test when a police officer stops you on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

An arrest for DWI is an unnerving experience, especially if you believe you were improperly charged with this offense. As a 2016 incident in Philadelphia shows, Breathalyzers are not always accurate.

Challenging accuracy

Breathalyzer machines must be recalibrated on an annual basis. However, in the summer of 2016, an attorney notified the police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that they were using Breathalyzers in which the calibrations had expired. The lawyer went on to estimate that the oversight could affect the outcomes of hundreds of cases that might have to go before the judge again. Breathalyzer calibrations involve a bottled solution that establishes accurate blood alcohol content readings. The attorney who brought the matter to light opined that the expired solution in the machines the police department was using could cause breath test findings to be inadmissible in court.

Facing the penalties

There are two legal proceedings associated with your DWI arrest: a criminal proceeding relative to the charge and an administrative proceeding, which will determine the fate of your driving privileges. You have the right to request a hearing during which you can challenge the possibility of a suspended driver’s license. Your attorney can also use this hearing to establish facts that may help in defending the criminal charge against you.

Seeking the best outcome

In the Philadelphia matter, the police department removed the Breathalyzers requiring recalibration, had them fixed, and put them back into service the same day. While prosecutors and judges expect accuracy from a breath test, the Philadelphia incident shows that machines are not perfect and human error can play a part in assigning blame incorrectly. There could be many factors to explore in a DWI charge, including an inaccurate BAC reading. A criminal defense attorney will review the facts carefully in pursuit of the best possible outcome for your case.

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