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Can You Challenge Breathalyzer Results in Utah?

 Posted on October 12, 2023 in Criminal Defense

UT defense lawyerGetting pulled over and accused of drunk driving can be a terrifying experience. The police are trained to take verbal and physical command of the situation, and many people find themselves agreeing to a breathalyzer test before they know what hit them.

If you found yourself in this situation, failed a test, and are now facing DUI charges, we have good news. There are often ways in which a Utah DUI defense attorney can challenge the results of a breathalyzer test. In fact, your lawyer may even be able to challenge the traffic stop altogether – potentially resulting in the state dropping the charges against you. Read on to learn more.

How an Attorney Can Challenge the Results of a Breathalyzer Test

Contrary to what police and prosecutors would have you believe, breathalyzer tests are not always accurate. There are many reasons that the results of a breathalyzer test may be inaccurate, including the following:

  • Miscalibrated devices – A breathalyzer needs to be properly calibrated to be accurate. If the police did not correctly calibrate the device used during your stop, the results may be inaccurate.
  • Mouth alcohol – Alcohol can linger in the mouth and throat, especially if someone has recently consumed alcohol. Of course, alcohol in your mouth or throat is not in your bloodstream and, therefore, does not reflect your level of intoxication. However, this residual alcohol can lead to an inflated BAC reading.
  • Medical conditions – Certain medical conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), can cause alcohol from the stomach to enter the esophagus and mouth, potentially leading to higher BAC readings.
  • Errors on the part of the police - The police officer administering the test may make errors in the procedure, such as not following the manufacturer's instructions correctly or not allowing a sufficient breath sample.

These are just a few of the ways in which your attorney may be able to challenge the results of the breathalyzer test. If your lawyer can show that there is a strong chance that the test results were inaccurate, the court may throw them out.

Challenging the Traffic Stop

Another way to get the results of a breathalyzer test thrown out involves challenging the traffic stop entirely. The police must have reasonable suspicion that you are committing a crime to stop you. Having an inarticulable “hunch” that something is wrong is not enough. In the event that the police pulled you over without reasonable suspicion, any evidence they gathered during the stop – including the results of the breathalyzer test - may be excluded from being used against you.

Call Us Today to Speak with a Salt Lake City, UT Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Utah, you should retain a lawyer as soon as possible. There may be actions that an attorney can take that can protect your rights and may even result in the dismissal of your case.

At Collins Rupp, P.C., we are dedicated to defending the rights of people accused of crimes and always strive for the best outcome possible. To schedule a free consultation with a Davis County criminal defense attorney, call our office today at 385-777-2753 or contact us online.

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