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The most effective evidence a prosecutor has when charging an individual for the offense for driving under the influence is the breath analysis record. Being arrested for driving under the influence is different from other criminal charges in the respect that a subject may be arrested without probable cause if the officer can determine reasonable suspicion by conducting a field sobriety test. This is often why multiple officers will go to the scene of the stop, even though a call for backup has not been requested. The testimony of the officer is more applicable when the sobriety test is observed by multiple officers, along with the fact the police are also always on guard for aggressive suspects. Any portable breathalyzer test used on the scene of the stop is not admissible as evidence when the state actually prosecutes the case. The only acceptable breath analysis evidence must be acquired from approved and certified mechanical alcohol analyzers, which are located in practically every police station in the state. And, even those results can be contested by an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney.
Mechanical Failure of the Breathalyzer
While California accepts the results of these alcohol analyzers in DUI prosecutions, the truth is that the machines are not perfect and can easily provide inaccurate information based on several different factors. There have been many impaired drivers who have been prosecuted using evidence from a faulty breath analysis machine when they did not retain a Los Angeles DUI lawyer who is dedicated to protecting their legal rights. This is especially true for borderline DUI cases where the charge could be negotiated down to reckless driving or completely dismissed based on the condition of a faulty breath analysis device. The machines must be inspected and calibrated regularly, and failure to service the machines within the designated time frame can impact the validity of a charge. Even faulty breathalyzers manufactured by the same company and used in other areas can be used as proof of inaccuracy in some instances. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is still the burden of proof for the prosecutor, and when measuring device efficiency can be challenged the evidence can cast reasonable doubt on a DUI prosecution.
Other Inefficiencies of the Breathalyzer
Breathalyzers are also ineffective in certain cases because of the mechanical ability to detect other multiple forms of alcohol and other legal chemicals. The device provides analysis for ethyl alcohol for intoxicated driving charges, but the machines measure other chemicals that could also register as an enhancement in the BAC level. There are multiple types of alcohol and other chemicals that could be present as a result of legal activity of the driver, such as from a physical problem or a chronic disease such as diabetes. Diabetics are especially prone to higher testing levels when their sugar level is low at the time of testing, and many times individuals with different physiques do not always reflect the proper blood alcohol concentration result. There are also other times when high acetone levels could also appear as an alcohol residue in the blood, further enhancing the fallibility of these devices. They actually read several other heat generating chemicals that are recognized by the breathalyzer as alcohol. Many times these results are found in suspected drunk drivers who are chronic smokers, verified alcoholics, and even individuals who are exposed to paint thinners or glue products in their employment field.
Always remember that the state is not entitled to a DUI case conviction, even though that is how many prosecutors will present the case as though the breath analysis results are from a perfect device. It is always important to defend against any DUI charge because the long-term damage can be extensive and the concept that a breathalyzer result is always efficient is a fallacy. Always get an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney who will fight for your rights to criminal defense, including contesting the breath analysis results.