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Challenging evidence for DUI includes the breath test

If you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you will be required to take a breath test.

You may be nervous about the results produced by a breathalyzer, thinking that this kind of machine is infallible. This is not so. An incident in Philadelphia proves that breathalyzers can have problems.

What it does

A breathalyzer is basically a computer with a mouthpiece. When you blow into the mouthpiece, the machine will measure the blood alcohol content in your body. The legal limit for drivers anywhere in the country is 0.08 percent. For minors under the age of 21, the legal limit is 0.02 percent.

What happened in Philadelphia

In the summer of 2016, an attorney noticed that the calibrations on the breathalyzers being used by the Philadelphia, PA, police department were out of date. He brought this to the attention of the authorities, who immediately removed the machines from service. Fixing the problem was simply a matter of replacing the expired solution in each machine so that the BAC readings would be accurate. The breathalyzers were returned to service the same day. However, the situation could have affected the outcome of hundreds of DUI cases from the first half of the year since the expired solution could have rendered breathalyzer evidence inadmissible in court.

What you can expect

A criminal defense attorney will tell you that many factors are involved when accurate breath tests are required, and some of those can be challenged. For example, the officer who conducted your test might not have been trained properly on the equipment, or he or she might not have provided you with the proper instructions. There is also the question of inaccuracy due to improper maintenance, as illustrated by the incident in Philadelphia. A DUI conviction involves fines, license suspension or revocation and even possible jail time, depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Those circumstances will be investigated, along with your arrest for driving under the influence challenged, beginning with the results of your breath test.

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