Most Pennsylvania motorists have heard of a Breathalyzer test. It’s one of the most common ways law enforcement officers determine whether or not someone is driving under the influence. But not everyone understands that these tests can be badly flawed. In fact, in recent years, thousands of breath test results have been thrown out of court. That’s because these tests can be far less accurate than people understand.
Ways to challenge a breath test
Breathalyzers are just a tool for measuring something. They have to be maintained properly to be effective. With Breathalyzers, it’s important to calibrate them regularly so that the readings are accurate. Like any tool, they also just have to be cared for properly. If not, they will not be reliable in the field. Problems with Breathalyzers include programming errors and a lack of training for the officers who use them.
There are also some procedural reasons your breath test may not hold up in court. For example, if the officer who administered it does not come to testify, it will be easier for you to challenge the result. There’s also the issue of probable cause. An officer must have a reasonable suspicion just to pull someone over for DUI. In some circumstances, administering a breath test can be tantamount to an illegal search.
Before going to court, collect your thoughts about the incident and the test. It might be wise to take some notes. You will likely be questioned about those events. This can be stressful. However, understanding the facts about breath tests and how flawed they can be may give you some peace of mind before heading into the courtroom.