Many charges for driving under the influence (DUI) are based on the results of a breathalyzer test. Breathalyzers can measure a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC), showing whether or not they are over California’s legal limit.
However, breathalyzer test results are not always admissible in court in California. Review factors that could make a breathalyzer test inadmissible with the Simmrin Law Group. Contact us at (310) 997-4688 if you failed a breathalyzer test and need help building a DUI defense.
Review the Usage of Breathalyzer Tests in California
Before we discuss the admissibility of breathalyzer tests, we need to consider the functions of these tests. Breathalyzers are a non-invasive way for a law enforcement officer to measure your BAC. You must blow into the testing device so it can gauge the amount of alcohol detected on your breath.
Breathalyzers are primarily used during a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test in California. Law enforcement officers use different equipment to conduct breath tests after an individual is arrested for a DUI. Sometimes this breath test is also called a breathalyzer, but this is not always the case.
The results of both a breathalyzer and other breath tests are often admissible in court in California.
Factors That Make Breathalyzer Tests Inadmissible
While the results of a breathalyzer test are often admissible in court, this is not always the case. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to challenge the results of a breathalyzer test in some situations. For example, your lawyer could dispute test results by showing that:
Your Rights Were Not Explained Before the Test
Not all drivers in California are automatically required to take a PAS test. In fact, you can legally decline this test UNLESS you are:
- On DUI probation
- Under 21
- Legally arrested
If a police officer had you take a PAS test without informing you that it was optional, the results could be deemed inadmissible by the court.
The Breathalyzer Was Not Administered Properly
Law enforcement officers have to follow specific steps when administering a breathalyzer test. Failure to administer the test properly can lead to faulty results. You should speak to your lawyer about the steps taken by an officer during your arrest.
The Breathalyzer Was Not Maintained Properly
Furthermore, breathalyzer devices must be maintained and calibrated carefully. These devices can return improper results if they are not cared for properly. A lawyer can investigate the handling procedures used by law enforcement officers. Call (310) 997-4688 to learn more.
Other Methods to Dispute Breathalyzer Results in California
Blocking the results of a breathalyzer test is only one option available to you if you are charged with a DUI in California. Your lawyer could also work to dispute the accuracy of your breathalyzer results, even if they are deemed admissible.
Sometimes, breathalyzers return inaccurate results if you:
- Have certain medical conditions
- Are on a low-carb/high-protein diet
- Recently used mouthwash or breath strips
- Ate food made with alcohol
- Consumed an energy drink
Taking the above actions can artificially inflate your BAC level, making it appear that you are driving impaired when you are not. Technically, the breathalyzer may be functioning properly while still reporting an improper BAC level.
Rising Blood Alcohol and Breathalyzer Test in California
There are a number of other defenses used to dispute breathalyzer test results in California. For example, your lawyer may use a rising blood alcohol defense for your case. When using the rising blood alcohol defense, a legal professional can argue that:
- Your blood absorbed more alcohol after you were stopped by a police officer
- Increasing your BAC over the legal limit EVEN THOUGH
- Your BAC was not over the limit while you were driving
The rising blood alcohol defense is more likely to work if you were forced to wait a long time before taking a breathalyzer test. Make sure you discuss your specific situation with a legal professional after a DUI arrest. Your lawyer can focus on constructing a defense that will resolve your charges successfully.
Talk to a Lawyer About the Admissibility of Breathalyzer Results
The results of a breathalyzer test may not be admissible in court in California if the test was mis-administered. However, a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can help you dispute even admissible breathalyzer results after a DUI arrest. Find out more with a FREE case evaluation from the Simmrin Law Group.
Reach out to us today by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 997-4688. We’re ready to provide you with the legal assistance you need.