In a previous article I wrote about Mississippi’s Intoxilyzer breath test machine. Today, I’m going to discuss how this device is calibrated and certified to be in proper working order. If you’ve been charged with DUI in Olive Branch or Desoto County, part of your defense may rest on the reliability of the breathalyzer.

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Mississippi law states that in order for an analysis of a person’s blood or breath to be valid (and admissible in court), it must be performed according to methods approved by the State Crime Lab and the Commissioner of Public Safety. It further requires that the crime lab shall make periodic, but not less frequently than quarterly, tests of all breathalyzers for accuracy, and shall issue a certificate for accuracy following each test. The certificates are public record.

In order for the results of the breath test machine to be admitted into evidence, the state must show that the machine was properly tested and certified. An Olive Branch DUI lawyer should first make sure that the records exist, then review them to see if the machine was indeed properly certified. If it’s not then that could be grounds to have the results–your blood alcohol concentration–thrown out.

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    Additionally, Mississippi law requires that the officer who operates the machine be properly certified. To prove this, the state must show that the individual possessed a valid permit issued by the crime lab for making such analysis. A good DUI attorney will examine the officer’s qualifications. How much experience did he or she have with this type of breathalyzer? Were they certified on that model or on a different one? How long ago were they certified? Had they been tested and if so what was the score? These are just some of the kinds of questions a Desoto County DUI lawyer will ask in challenging a breathalyzer result. It may not lead to having the test thrown out, but it could show that it’s unreliable in the eyes of the judge or jury.

    Patrick Stegall is an Olive Branch DUI lawyer. He represents people throughout Desoto County and North Mississippi. If you’d like to have your breathalyzer results analyzed and challenged, and do not wish to plead guilty to DUI, contact him at (901) 205-9894 or

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