With the start of a new year often comes the pursuit of a significant number of drunk driving charges. New Year’s Eve often brings saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints, which leave many Floridians facing allegations of criminal wrongdoing. If convicted, these individuals may wind up facing serious penalties, including jail, prison, fines, license suspension, license revocation and damage to one’s reputation that may be difficult to remedy. In other words, those accused of drunk driving have a lot on the line. Failing to aggressively defend one’s self can thus result in significant negative changes to one’s life.
As we have discussed previously on this blog, prosecutors often rely on evidence from field sobriety tests to obtain a conviction. In addition to these tests, law enforcement officials and prosecutors turn to breathalyzer test results. Although the process of undergoing a breathalyzer test can seem very scientific, the truth of the matter is these tests are often flawed. Sure, blood tests can accurately, and scientifically, determine blood alcohol content, but studies have shown that breath tests can be inaccurate by as much as 50 percent. This margin of error could make all the difference between being deemed drunk and sober for driving purposes.
So what does this mean for Floridians facing drunk driving charges? It means they need to carefully analyze every aspect of their traffic stop to determine if any errors could have resulted in inaccurate breathalyzer test results. For example, an individual who is burping may erroneously be determined to be more intoxicated than they are in actuality. Additionally, breathalyzers that are not properly calibrated can bring about bad results and so, too, can police officers who fail to abide by standard testing protocols.
Challenging the accuracy of a breath test can mean the difference between jail and freedom, financial stability and financial ruin and a clean criminal record and one that is marred that could result in lost job and living opportunities. For this reason, to fully protect one’s legal rights in these matters, it is critical obtain strong legal assistance.