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Mounting a challenge to a breath test

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2023 | Drunk Driving |

Breath tests are tools that Iowa law enforcement uses to measure the blood alcohol concentration of individuals suspected of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. While breath tests are often considered reliable evidence, they are not infallible, and there are circumstances where individuals may challenge test accuracy and validity.

Improper administration

Breath tests must be administered correctly to ensure accurate results. If the arresting officer fails to follow proper procedures, such as adequately observing the suspect before administering the test or does not calibrate and maintain the Breathalyzer equipment appropriately, it can undermine the test’s reliability.

Equipment malfunctions

Breathalyzer devices need regular calibration and maintenance to function accurately. If the equipment is faulty, outdated or improperly calibrated, it can lead to inaccurate readings and unjust OWI charges. It is essential to investigate whether the breathalyzer used in the specific case was functioning correctly and if it had been regularly inspected and calibrated.

Medical conditions and physiological factors

Conditions such as acid reflux, diabetes and even recent consumption of certain foods or medications can produce false positive results. Individuals with these conditions may challenge test result accuracy if they believe it was influenced by their specific circumstances.

Breath test operator errors

The operator administering the breath test must have proper training and certification. If the operator lacks the necessary training, fails to follow the required protocols or demonstrates incompetence, it can raise doubts about the test results.

Rising blood alcohol concentration

In some cases, an individual’s BAC may continue to rise after they have been pulled over and administered a breath test. This is known as the “rising blood alcohol defense.” If there is evidence to suggest that an individual’s BAC was lower at the time of driving but had risen by the time the breath test was conducted, it may cast doubt on the validity of the results.

Independent blood test

In some jurisdictions, individuals have the right to request an independent blood test after a breath test. If the breath test results are being challenged, obtaining a separate blood test can provide an alternative method of measuring BAC and potentially refute the breath test result’s accuracy.

Challenging results

Challenging a breath test requires a thorough understanding of the specific circumstances, relevant laws and scientific principles involved. While breath tests can be persuasive evidence, they are not foolproof and raising valid challenges can help motorists protect their rights and potentially mitigate the consequences associated with OWI charges.



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