When can you challenge breath test results in California?

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2022 | DUI Defense |

As soon as the police officer pulls you over, they will start looking for evidence of misconduct. They might ask you questions or even request that you exit the vehicle to perform a field sobriety test. If your answer to questions or performance on the test gives the officer reason to suspect chemical impairment, the next step will likely be to request a chemical breath test.

When you know you have not had too much to drink, you may eagerly agree to do the test because you assume that it will exonerate you. Unfortunately, some people consent to a breath test only to find to their dismay and confusion that the test shows they are over the legal limit for their blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

You know you absolutely did not have too much to drink, so the obvious conclusion is that the breath test is wrong. When can you potentially challenge the results of that test?

When you have an alternate explanation

Do you have a rare medical condition, like auto-brewery syndrome? Have you had issues with diabetes management recently and believe you may have been in the state of ketoacidosis during the traffic stop?

There are numerous medical reasons why you might fail a field sobriety test or a chemical breath test. Providing evidence of those alternate explanations in court could potentially be a successful defense strategy.

When there are issues with the testing unit

If you don’t have a health issue that explains why you failed the test, the unit itself may have had an issue that affected the accuracy of the results. Breath test devices require frequent calibration, software updates and mechanical maintenance to operate properly.

When departments fail to install software updates or routinely calibrate the devices they use for traffic enforcement, the results returned when they use the test may be inaccurate and may not stand up to scrutiny in court.

When you know the test is wrong

It is also possible in cases where there is no evidence of health concerns or an issue with the device to challenge the science behind chemical breath tests. Some judges will no longer rely on breath testing for a drunk driving case because of how many issues can compromise the accuracy of the results.

Learning more about chemical breath testing could help you fight back against allegations of impaired driving.