CategoryFiled under: DUI/DWI

If you have been charged with DUI in Tennessee based on the result of a breathalyzer test, understand that in order for that result to get admitted and used to convict you the state must meet certain requirements.

Call Stegall Law Firm at 901-205-9894 for more information

Just because the machine produced a number saying you were legally intoxicated doesn’t mean you’re guilty. The machine is not always right, and the state/police don’t always operate it correctly. The state can’t just walk into court and say here are the breath test results. It has to lay a foundation:

  • It has to show that the test was performed according to standards and operating procedures as set by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the officer was properly certified
  • It has to show that the machine was certified by TBI, was tested regularly for accuracy, and was working properly when the test was performed
  • Finally it has to show that the driver was observed for 20 minutes prior to the test, and during this period the driver did not have anything in his/her mouth, and did not consume any alcoholic beverage, smoke, or regurgitate.

The observation period is critical. Even the act of belching can mess up the test, so the police have to watch or listen for that. If there’s any doubt that they didn’t properly observe you for that time, the test result may get thrown out. If they start to do paperwork, turn their back, take a phone call while not watching you, all these can call the test result into question. A DUI case is going to turn on very subtle, particular sets of facts.

Contact Stegall Law

    For an analysis of your case, contact Memphis DUI lawyer Patrick Stegall. The breathalyzer is a complex instrument that must be challenged scientifically, and you’re going to need an attorney who understands how these devices work. Contact Mr. Stegall at (901) 205-9894 or

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