Five Factors that can Skew a DUI Test in Georgia
Drivers who fail a DUI test in Georgia often cave in and plead guilty to get the ordeal over with. They believe the results of a breath or blood test are foolproof. This is not always the case. A range of factors can skew a DUI test in Georgia and lead to a false reading.
Police use a number of measures to establish whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These include field sobriety tests, breath tests, urine tests, and blood tests.
All of these tests can be skewed. Field sobriety tests are the least accurate measure of intoxication and blood tests are generally the most accurate.
Here are five factors that can skew a DUI test in Georgia.
1 Substances with a high alcohol content
Substances and medication that contain alcohol may be relevant during a Breathalyzer test, particularly when the 0.08 BAC reading is marginal. These include cough drops, cough syrup, mouthwash and even dental work and piercings that can create “mouth alcohol.” Some asthma medications contain alcohol. Scientists have found Albuterol and Salmeterol, for example, can prompt a breathalyzer test to indicate alcohol use. Always make your Georgia DUI defense lawyer aware of these factors.
2 Medical conditions
Certain medical conditions can cause drivers to blow a false positive breath test. These include GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). People diagnosed with acid reflux will habitually register a higher reading in a blood-alcohol breath test than people without the condition. The acid build-up in the sufferer’s stomach affects the reading.
3 Failure to Follow Proper Procedure
Police officers must follow proper protocols before they administer a DUI test. Police are meant to observe a suspect for 15 or 20 minutes to ensure they do not belch, hiccup, or throw up. They should also ensure the suspect does not have a foreign object in his or her mouth. Failure to follow proper procedures and to observe a suspect for the required amount of time can render a test inaccurate.
4 Laboratory errors
Although blood tests are generally accepted as being more accurate than breath or urine tests, errors at the laboratory can be challenged by a good Georgia DUI defense lawyer.
On occasions, scientists and lab technicians can use flawed methods to analyze and interpret results. Criminal labs in Georgia are under funding pressure. Technicians are inundated with cases. On occasions, workers fail to preserve the specimens in the correct environment, mix up samples or fail to label them properly. This can result in abnormally high readings.
5 Failure to Maintain or Calibrate Breathalyzers
There is ample evidence that many police departments fail to properly maintain their Breathalyzers. Damage to equipment or improper calibration stack the odds against the driver from the outset.
Each state has its own laws about breathalyzer calibration. Failure to follow them can open the prosecution to a legal challenge. If a defense attorney can show the Breathalyzer used in your test was improperly calibrated, the breath test evidence can be ruled inadmissible. The case may be dismissed.
The police officer who carries out your breath test must be certified to do so. The department must use a Breathalyzer that is on an approved list of devices. Police officers often cut corners. They believe they will get away with it.
An experienced GA drunk driving defense lawyer can challenge police procedures and look for factors that skew a DUI test in Georgia. Given the devastating effects a drunk driving conviction will likely have on your life, you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Call us today at 414-913-1529.