Problems with Breath and Blood Tests in DWI Arrests

Problems with Breath and Blood Tests in DWI Arrests

Media Pennsylvania DWI/DUI Breathalyzer Test Attorney

There are several issues that must be considered in any DWI arrest: 1.) did the officer have reasonable suspicion to pull you over? 2). Did he or she properly administer the field sobriety test? 3.) Did the officer have probable cause to give you a breath or blood test? 4.) Was the breathalyzer properly calibrated? Was the blood test tainted? At each stage in a DWI/DUI arrest, a failure to follow proper procedures may be grounds for dismissing the DWI/DUI charges against you.

Field Sobriety Test and Probable Cause

Field sobriety tests are used to establish probable cause for arresting you on suspicion of drunk driving. There are several problems with field sobriety tests, the least of which is the fact that a police officer acts as judge and jury in the field. More importantly, however, are issues associated with the test itself. Most police departments follow guidelines established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Student Manual.

The manual itself provides extensive instructions on how a test is to be given, what officers should do if a suspect shifts his weight to one leg momentarily, raises his hands above 6 to 8 inches, or pauses. The manual also instructs officers to give a field sobriety test on a flat, even, dry surface. Do officers always follow these guidelines? No – and when they don’t, our attorneys point out what was done incorrectly, questioning the test’s reliability in establishing probable cause to arrest you.

Breath Tests – Was the Breathalyzer Functioning Properly?

Forensic experts have questioned the reliability of certain breathalyzers link to – like the Intoxilyzer 5000 – that operate according to what is known as “Henry’s Law.” In short, Henry’s Law assumes a certain alcohol to blood ratio that isn’t always reliable in certain situations. As a result, a number of factors can result in a false-positive reading in breath tests. For example, a false-positive can result if you used mouthwash, take certain medications, or the mouthpiece was not changed between tests.

Additionally, how you were asked to blow into the device can also sometimes affect the results. Since breathalyzers are machines, they must be properly maintained. If a breathalyzer isn’t calibrated correctly, breath test results will not be accurate. Our attorneys inspect the maintenance record for breathalyzers in order to determine if the one used in your arrest was not properly calibrated.

Blood Tests and DWI/DUI Charges

While more accurate than breath tests, there are several forensic issues that arise in blood tests as well: did the person who drew your blood wipe your arm with alcohol? Is there reason to believe the preservative in the test kit was expired? Did the sample contain mostly plasma or whole blood? Another issue in blood tests is their ability to detect drugs in your system. In the state of Pennsylvania, if drugs are found in your system, you face additional criminal charges – even if you last used them weeks ago.

Learn the Facts – Contact the Law Offices of John E. Kusturiss Today

There are a number of technical and legal issues involved in a DWI arrest. Depending on the actions of the arresting officers and the forensic materials used, your DWI/DUI arrest may be eligible for dismissal.

To learn how we can help you, contact Media DWI defense attorney John E. Kusturiss today online or call us at 610-565-0240 to schedule a private meeting. There is no charge for your first consultation. We will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We take Visa, MasterCard and Discover, as well as debit cards.

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