DUI: Challenging Field Sobriety Tests And Breathalyzer Results

In our last post, we discussed reasonable suspicion and probable cause, both of which come into play in DUI cases. In order for the traffic stop itself to be considered legal, the officer must have reasonable suspicion that you may have committed a crime or otherwise violated the law. If the stop is challenged and the officer cannot establish reasonable suspicion, any evidence obtained during the traffic stop could be thrown out.

Assuming that the traffic stop itself was valid, there are other aspects of the interaction that can be challenged. In today’s post, we’ll discuss two common DUI defenses related to field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests.

Field sobriety tests are used by police officers to assess a suspect’s apparent level of intoxication. They usually test physical coordination and ability to follow directions. While field sobriety tests can often reveal signs that suggest a suspect is intoxicated, they are not proof of intoxication. Moreover, officers can be somewhat subjective in determining whether a suspect passed or failed the tests. If the tests may have been administered incorrectly or if the officer’s assessment skills are questionable, a defendant may be able to challenge his DUI charges on these grounds.

Breathalyzer tests are a much more accurate measure of intoxication, but these devices are only accurate if they have been properly calibrated and if the officer administers the test correctly. It is common for criminal defense attorneys to subpoena service and calibration records for the specific device used in the DUI stop. They may also challenge aspects of how the test was administered.

DUI can be a difficult charge to defend against, but not all DUI cases are open-and-shut. Before you decide that you are out of options, please discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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