Can I fight breathalyzer results?

| Sep 18, 2020 | traffic violations

In the majority of DWI cases, the state’s case rests heavily on the breathalyzer results. If you are taking your DWI case to trial, you may wonder if you can challenge these results.

The short answer is that yes, you can challenge breathalyzer results the same way that you can challenge radar gun results if the police issue you a traffic ticket. In order to challenge breathalyzer results, you either need to address problems with the breathalyzer device itself or with the officer who performed the breathalyzer test, according to FindLaw.

What are potential problems with the breathalyzer?

The most common issues with breathalyzer devices are that they are either not reliable or the police did not not calibrate the breathalyzer presence to use. For instance, in a 2013 ruling in Ohio, a judge found that a certain brand of breathalyzer was not giving accurate readings, even if a police officer properly calibrated the device.

Calibration is vital for breathalyzer results, assuming that the device is generally functional. Usually, the state will provide police testimony that an officer calibrated the device prior to use, but if they are not able to do so the breathalyzer evidence will not hold in court.

What are potential problems with the police?

In order for a police officer to use a breathalyzer, he or she must have proper training on the device. If the officer did not have this training at the time the police arrested you for DWI, the breathalyzer results will not hold up in court.

Additionally, the police must prove that the breathalyzer was part of a legal search. To this end, the police must have had probable cause to suspect you were driving while intoxicated.