Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Matassini Law Firm
FREE Consultations Available
813-217-5715
TAMPA
Matassini Law Firm > Blog > DUI > Beating Chemical Tests in DUI Cases

Beating Chemical Tests in DUI Cases

Breathalyzer2

Modern Breathalyzers first appeared in the United Kingdom in 1967. By 1980, they were standard equipment for most police officers in Florida. The latest generation Breathalyzers are even more sophisticated. For example, they use fuel cells to trigger electrochemical reactions instead of crystals which usually require bodily fluid samples.

Shortly after Breathalyzers appeared in the United States, most jurisdictions, including Florida, changed their DUI laws to keep pace with this technological change. Today, persons who provide chemical samples above a certain level are guilty of DUI as a matter of law. These levels are normally .08 for noncommercial drivers and .04 for commercial operators. Trace amounts of alcohol are sufficient to convict any motorist under 21.

The conviction rate for test cases is much higher than the conviction rate in non-test cases. That’s especially true for blood tests. However, chemical tests also have a number of moving parts. If one segment is not up to snuff, the results could be invalid. An experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney concentrates on some common chemical test flaws.

Blood Test Flaws

Scientifically, blood tests are much more accurate than breath tests. However, officers must obtain search warrants before they can extract blood samples. Therefore, blood tests are usually limited to No-Refusal Weekends and other heightened enforcement periods.

Blood tests are scientifically accurate, but often they are not legally compelling. Samples must make multiple stops in their journey from a driver’s body to a criminal courtroom. Any procedural irregularities along the way could invalidate the sample.

Additionally, defense attorneys usually order re-tests in blood test cases. Frequently, an independent laboratory obtains a much different result from the one that a police technician claims s/he obtained.

Breathalyzer Flaws

These gadgets use basically the same technology as the Drunk-O-Meter, a device which was invented in 1931. So, although modern Breathalyzers have lots of bells and whistles, they rely on ancient technology. Largely because of this reliance, they have a number of specific flaws. Some of them include:

  • Mouth Alcohol: If the driver burped or vomited in the fifteen minutes prior to the test, alcohol particles from the stomach rush into the mouth, thus skewing the results. Police officers are supposed to monitor defendants before they take Breathalyzer tests, but effective monitoring is rare.
  • Unabsorbed Alcohol: Breathalyzers do not account for the alcohol digestive process. Normally, alcohol travels from the stomach to the liver to the blood. So, if the driver had been drinking within the last hour or so, the unabsorbed alcohol artificially elevates the BAC estimate.
  • Temperature Changes: Like most scientific instruments, Breathalyzers are sensitive devices, especially regarding temperature. That includes the test subject’s temperature as well as the outdoor temperature. Many people drive with mild fevers. Additionally, extreme temperature changes are common in Florida during certain months.
  • Calibration: On a related note, the Breathalyzer’s many moving parts require frequent calibration. In 2017, an investigation determined that almost all the Breathalyzers in Massachusetts had been improperly calibrated for years. As a result, a District Judge declared that Breathalyzer results were presumptively unreasonable.

To drive home these flaws, and others as well, attorneys often partner with degreed chemists who testify for the jury. Chemists have much more credibility than police department Breathalyzer techs. 

Rely on Experienced Lawyers

DUI chemical test results are not always accurate. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa DUI lawyer, contact The Matassini Law Firm. We routinely handle matters in Hillsborough County and nearby jurisdictions.

Resource:

telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/9803707/Tom-Parry-Jones.html

https://www.matassinilaw.com/if-i-took-a-dui-chemical-test-am-i-automatically-guilty/

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

The experience you need in your pursuit of justice

The greatest distinguishing feature among attorneys is their level of experience. Our firm has more than 60 years of legal experience, much of it spent in the courtroom at trial. As a result, our Tampa personal injury lawyers rarely encounter an unfamiliar situation and can thoroughly answer your urgent questions. Our criminal defense practice features a board certified criminal trial lawyer and two former prosecutors with impressive knowledge of trial tactics and procedures.

The resources to provide quality representation for the length of your case

Whether your case involves medical malpractice, an auto accident or a wrongful death, your attorney must be prepared to take the case all the way through trial to verdict. Many personal injury attorneys advance the cost of litigation, so they can only last so long before financial pressures start to mount. As a client, you have to wonder whether an attorneyÕs advice to settle your case reflects the quality of the offer or your attorneyÕs need to get paid. Fortunately, The Matassini Law Firm has the resources to pursue civil verdicts and settlements that reflect the actual value of your case.

Call our Tampa Bay personal injury lawyers for a free consultation

A crisis in your life calls for capable and compassionate assistance. The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. addresses your needs all the way through the legal process. For your free initial confidential conference with one of our Tampa personal injury lawyers, call us today at 813-217-5715 or contact us online.

Share This Page:
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
888-377-0011
Toll Free
813-217-5715
Tampa
2811 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, Florida 33609
GET DRIVING DIRECTIONS
+