How Can I Keep My Breathalyzer Test Results Out of a Florida DUI Court Case?
It’s hard to remember a time when the law enforcement community was NOT cracking down on drunk driving. In fact, in 2018, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports that police arrested 4,043 people in Broward County alone. Obviously, breathalyzer test results are usually key for prosecutors in getting convictions against offenders, but you should also keep in mind an important point: A breath test showing your blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit doesn’t make a slam dunk for the prosecution. Any issues with the machines or operators could present problems for the prosecution, which means there may be grounds to have test results tossed out of court.
A Florida DUI defense attorney can explain options regarding admissibility of breathalyzer test results, but you should be aware of the potential strategies.
Failure to Calibrate: There are strict administrative regulations on how often these machines must be calibrated to ensure accurate results. A calibration must be performed by a licensed inspector, who will go through a checklist to ensure the breathalyzer device is operating within specified parameters. In addition, Florida rules require each unit to go through a more exacting calibration and inspect annually. The burden is on the state to prove guilt in any criminal case, so the prosecutor must introduce evidence regarding calibration if your test results are to be admissible in court.
Use of Unregistered Breathalyzer Machines: Every breathalyzer device must also be registered with state and local officials when there’s a potential for results to be used as evidence in court. The prosecution must present certification for the exact unit used in your test.
Lack of Training and Credentials: Almost without exception, any person that interacts with a breath test machine must have the proper licensing and training – and it must be current at the time of the test. This requirement applies to:
- The officer administering the test;
- An agent charged with inspecting the breathalyzer device; and,
Any who calibrates the machines.
What Legal Failures Mean for Your Case: If police and other officials don’t follow these strict rules, the prosecutor may not have a solid case for DUI charges. Legal violations typically result in evidence being found inadmissible, i.e., it must be tossed out of court and cannot be considered when weighing guilt. Without breathalyzer test results to show your BAC, the state may decide to dismiss the charges.
Still, the prosecutor will likely go forward to trial with your case if there’s other evidence that you were violating DUI laws. For instance, police officers who made the arrest may testify that they saw, smelled, or otherwise observed that you were driving drunk.
Contact Florida DUI Lawyer About Your Defense Options
If you’d like more information on strategies to keep your breathalyzer test results out of court in a drunk driving matter, please contact the office of Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can determine the best way to fight the charges and allegations regarding your BAC after reviewing the unique circumstances of your case.