If I Failed a Breath Test, Will I Be Convicted of DUI?

You Have the Right to Challenge BAC Evidence

Were you recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) after taking, and failing, a breathalyzer test? If so, you may be thinking that there is no way for you to win your case. This is not true! With the help of a Colorado Springs DUI lawyer from Geoff Heim, Attorney, LLC, you can challenge the validity of the evidence in your case—be it a breath, blood or urine test—and fight to avoid a conviction.

With more than 15 years of experience, I have successfully defended hundreds of clients against various criminal charges. I am also certified to administer breathalyzer tests, which could be beneficial to your DUI case. Police officers make mistakes, and BAC tests are not always accurate, so don't assume that you will be found guilty until you have discussed the details of your arrest with my firm.

Reasons Why Breath Tests Aren't Always 100% Accurate

Unlike field sobriety tests, which only test a driver's physical and cognitive functions, breathalyzer tests can be administered to determine a driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If a driver's BAC is measured at .08% or greater, they could be arrested and charged with DUI. While these tests are generally accurate, mistakes or external factors could compromise the validity of the results.

Some of the most common causes of inaccurate breath test results include:

  • Improper calibration: Police officers are required to recalibrate their breath testing equipment on a regular basis—since these devices use a silicon oxide sensor to calculate BAC. If they fail to do so, the machine could detect a higher BAC than what is actually present.

  • Belching or hiccupping: Before administering a breath test, an officer is supposed to make sure that you haven't belched or hiccupped in the last 15 minutes. Belching or hiccupping releases gas from your stomach, which can skew the results of a BAC test.

  • Using mouthwash: If a driver uses mouth wash or another breath freshener to cover up the smell of alcohol on their breath, it could lead to inaccurate test results. These products usually contain a high level of alcohol, which could contribute to a higher BAC reading.

How to Challenge the Validity of a DUI Blood Test

Although blood tests are considered to be more accurate than breath tests in determining a driver's blood alcohol concentration, no test is 100% fail-proof. There is still room for error, especially if the blood sample was improperly collected, stored or handled. For example, if a blood sample is stored for too long before it is actually tested, or there is a change in temperate, fermentation can begin.

This is the process by which alcohol is formed. If the blood sample begins to ferment, the test could falsely yield a higher BAC reading. Similarly, a clear chain of custody must be documented any time the sample is moved or handled by another person. If this is not clearly documented, the sample would be rendered invalid. Furthermore, there are ways in which errors could be made during testing.

Discuss Your Case with a Top-Rated DUI Attorney Today

Regardless of why you were arrested for drunk driving, it is imperative that you move quickly to discuss your case with an experienced DUI attorney in Colorado Springs, CO. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the better it could be for your case. For this reason, I encourage you to take the first step today by contacting the team at Geoff Heim, Attorney, LLC for a free, no-obligation consultation.