If you have been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving and blown a breath test that shows you at 0.08%, does this mean you are not entitled to a defense against DUI charges? No, it does not. In this blog post, we will discuss chemical breath tests and how to defend against their evidence.
When police pull over an Illinois driver on suspicion of drunk driving, they typically rely on their observation of the driver’s behavior. For instance, if they see a car weaving in and out of lanes, they may suspect the drive is inebriated and decide to pull over the car to investigate further. Once the driver pulls over, the police may speak to the driver and observe more closely to find more evidence that the person is drunk. If they smell alcohol on the driver’s breath, or notice that the driver is slurring words, police may ask the driver to exit the vehicle and perform standard field sobriety tests, such as walking in a straight line and turning.
The officer’s observations can be used as evidence to support a finding that the driver was too drunk to drive safely, but for hard evidence, they will want a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test. These can be conducted through a blood draw or a urine test, but at a roadside traffic stop, police generally use a breath test.
Breath tests, commonly called breathalyzers, are electronic devices that measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. This is understood to correlate to the person’s BAC. If a test shows a driver’s BAC at 0.08% or higher, the person is presumed to have violated the law.
It’s important to note that a person who shows a BAC of less than 0.08% can still be found guilty of drunk driving. Drivers under age 21 can be found guilty of drunk driving if their BAC is at any point above zero. Also remember that police officers’ observations about the driver’s sobriety test can be used against the driver even if they never administer a BAC test.
Defending against BAC test evidence
If your breath test shows that you had a BAC over 0.08%, the evidence against you is strong, but this doesn’t mean that the prosecution’s work is done. One important DUI defense strategy is to attack the reliability of the breathalyzer.
Breathalyzers can give inaccurate results in many scenarios. For example, if you had a small drink of alcohol a short time before the test, small amounts of alcohol in your mouth may cause the test to produce faulty data.
In some cases, you may be able to show that the breathalyzer device itself was not properly calibrated. In others, you may be able to show that the arresting officers were not properly trained in how to use the device.
Defending against DUI charges is not easy, and it is tricky to attack BAC test evidence, but you don’t have to do it alone. An experienced DUI defense attorney can help you understand the strategies and procedures that can help in situations like yours.