Defending Against Breathalyzer Results: Common Pitfalls in CO

In the realm of criminal defense cases, particularly those involving DUI charges, the reliability of breathalyzer tests often comes under scrutiny. In Colorado, as in many other jurisdictions, these tests play a significant role in determining whether an individual is driving under the influence.

However, there are various common pitfalls associated with breathalyzer results that can lead to inaccuracies and potentially unfair legal outcomes. Understanding these pitfalls is crucial for individuals facing DUI charges and their defense attorneys.

Calibration and Maintenance Errors

Breathalyzer tests, also known as breath tests or breath alcohol tests, are commonly used to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels in suspected drunk drivers. While these tests are intended to provide a scientific measurement of intoxication, there are several factors that can compromise their accuracy.

One of the most common pitfalls is the potential for inaccuracies due to calibration errors or improper maintenance of the breathalyzer device. Like any piece of equipment, breathalyzer machines require regular calibration and maintenance to ensure accurate results.

Failure to properly calibrate or maintain these devices can lead to skewed readings, which may erroneously indicate a higher BAC than the individual actually has.

Environmental Factors

Additionally, environmental factors such as temperature and humidity can impact the accuracy of breathalyzer results. Extreme temperatures, for example, can affect the chemical reactions that occur within the device, leading to unreliable readings.

Similarly, certain medical conditions or physiological factors, such as acid reflux or diabetes, can also influence breathalyzer results, potentially leading to false positives.

Procedural Errors

Another common pitfall in breathalyzer testing is the potential for procedural errors during the administration of the test. Law enforcement officers are required to follow strict protocols when administering breathalyzer tests, including observing the individual for a specified period before the test to ensure they do not ingest anything that could affect the results.

Failure to adhere to these protocols can compromise the validity of the test and provide grounds for challenging its accuracy in court with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Inherent Limitations of Breathalyzer Technology

Furthermore, the inherent limitations of breathalyzer technology must be taken into account when evaluating the reliability of test results. While breathalyzer tests are widely used and accepted as evidence in DUI cases, they are not infallible.

Factors such as individual metabolism and absorption rates can vary significantly from person to person, making it challenging to accurately determine a person’s level of intoxication based solely on a breathalyzer reading.

Building a Strong Defense

Given the potential pitfalls associated with breathalyzer tests, building a strong defense against DUI charges requires careful examination of the circumstances surrounding the administration of the test.

This includes scrutinizing the maintenance records of the breathalyzer device, assessing environmental conditions at the time of testing, and evaluating whether proper protocols were followed by law enforcement officers.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Importantly, individuals facing DUI charges should seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands the complexities of breathalyzer testing and knows how to effectively challenge its results in court.

A skilled attorney can help navigate the legal process, identify potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and develop a strategic defense strategy tailored to the specific circumstances of the case.

DWI Defense In Colorado

While breathalyzer tests are commonly used to measure BAC levels in DUI cases, they are not without their limitations and potential pitfalls. Factors such as calibration errors, environmental conditions, procedural errors, and individual physiological differences can all impact the accuracy of breathalyzer results.

Building a strong defense against DUI charges requires a thorough understanding of these potential pitfalls and a proactive approach to challenging breathalyzer evidence in court. Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer is essential for achieving the best possible outcome in these cases.



About the Author:

Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Countless legal organizations have recognized Mr. Martinez for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys and is Lead Counsel rated.