If you’ve been charged with DUI in Memphis or the surrounding area because of a failed breath test, you have basically two options:
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- One, accept what the police are telling you is true (that you’re guilty) and plead guilty.
- Or two, don’t accept it and fight the case.
This article is for people choosing option two.
Breath testing devices, or breathalyzers, seem very complex and scientific, and they are, but they are also machines that can fail if not maintained or operated properly. The following are some things to look for in challenging your breathalyzer case.
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When was the last time the machine was calibrated?
The police are supposed to keep maintenance records of each breathalyzer, like when it was serviced and what problems it’s had in the past. Reviewing the history of the machine could lead to important information in challenging your case.
How many tests were performed, or how many times did you have to blow into the machine?
Was it one or two? Most standards recommend two times, and this makes sense. Two times is more reliable. It gives you confirmation. Only once is not recommended and many jurisdictions require two as part of their standard operating procedure. If you blew only once, you may be able to challenge the reliability of the test.
Were you properly observed prior to the test?
Tennessee law requires the officer to observe you for 20 minutes before blowing into the machine, to make sure you don’t put anything in your mouth, or you don’t vomit or belch. While the officer doesn’t have to just sit there and stare at you for that time, he/she can’t be doing other tasks like paperwork, answering the phone, walking over to the other side of the room, etc. This is where the observation video is important. It needs to be watched to see if all the procedures were followed correctly.
Breath test results must be carefully analyzed. Just because the machine says you were drunk doesn’t mean you actually were.
For help with your breath test case, contact Memphis DUI lawyer Patrick Stegall today at (901) 205-9894 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.