Challenging the breathalyzer test in Georgia
A breathalyzer is a device that measures the blood alcohol content present in your system using a breath sample. It is often used in DUI arrests (either roadside or at the police station) because it is time efficient for police officers who do not necessarily want to have their time taken up waiting for a blood draw at a hospital. Plus, it eliminates the need for additional witnesses at trial, such as the nurse who drew the blood for a blood alcohol test, and the toxicologist who tested the blood sample. It is fairly easy for an officer to operate an Intoxilyzer machine by simply inserting a clean and sterile mouth piece into the breath tube and then, after entering in the relevant information, instructing the driver to blow hard into the tube. But the operator must be very detailed-oriented in order to make sure the test result is reliable.
Prior to administering the test, the operator is supposed to conduct a 20-minute observation period. This is to make sure that the driver does not burp or belch in the 20-minute window prior to blowing into the breath tube; something as simple as a burp or belch can bring up small amounts of raw alcohol from your stomach that can contaminate the sample and compromise the results of your breath test. Despite the danger of artificially inflated breath test results, Intoxilyzer operators routinely ignore the importance of the 20-minute waiting period. Instead of actually observing a driver for the 20 minutes prior to the test, the operator may be doing paperwork, setting up the machine, or in some cases claim the observation period was conducted with the DUI suspect in the back of a patrol car, behind bullet-proof (and sound-proof) glass, while driving to the jail!
Another important factor in the reliability of a breathalyzer test is the working condition of the device at the time of the test. Breathalyzer machines must be calibrated properly and receive regular maintenance to ensure proper results. Defense attorneys can obtain records of the calibrations of the machine, as well as maintenance logs months prior to the test. If any issues are found, there can be potential grounds to challenge the accuracy of the test results.
Criminal defense for DUI breathalyzer test in Georgia
There are many additional ways to successfully challenge the breath-testing equipment used in Georgia. However, you need to find an experienced and knowledgeable DUI attorney to help mount a winning strategy. A quality defense takes into account the physiological variances of individual that was tested, the physical conditions of the location of the breath testing, as well as the maintenance and calibration of the machine months prior to the test and the machine’s history of producing inaccurate samples.
Attorney Erin Gerstenzang is an experienced DUI attorney in Atlanta who can determine whether your breathalyzer test may have been compromised. Call Erin today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.
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