i failed a breathalyzer test – will i be convicted?

If you have been pulled over for suspected drunk driving in Virginia Beach and the officer administered a breathalyzer, which you failed, you are likely wondering if your test failure will ultimately lead to you being convicted of DUI. While a breathalyzer failure will not help you in the slightest, rest assured that it in no way guarantees your conviction. Though the prosecution may lead you to believe that a guilty plea is your only option, in reality, there are several ways that breathalyzer test results may be challenged. While the applicability of these strategies will vary depending on the specifics of your situation, generally speaking, breathalyzer evidence can be “beaten” in the following ways:

  1. The results were unreliable: The U.S. criminal justice system allows defendants to question and contest the reliability of all evidence submitted in their case, including the results of breathalyzer tests. Many breath testing machines are known for being unreliable and frequently produce inaccurate readings, especially handheld models.
  2. The device was improperly calibrated: Like any other electronic device, breathalyzers must be tested and calibrated before use to ensure their accuracy. Unless the prosecution has proof that the breathalyzer the officer used was properly calibrated, the test results may be declared inadmissible in court.
  3. Poor training: Your attorney may be able to question whether or not the officer who administered the breathalyzer test had the proper training to do so. Just like how many people have successfully beaten speeding tickets by contesting the police’s proper operation of a radar gun, the same strategy may be used to question breath tests.
  4. Illegal testing: You may not be tricked into consenting to a breathalyzer test, nor may the police legally administer a breath test if they did not have a legitimate reason to pull you over in the first place. Any breath test which is illegally administered will be inadmissible in court.
  5. The police fail to testify: Under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, you have the right to face your accuser and have them face cross-examination in a court of law. If the administering officer does not show up to testify in your case, your attorney may be able to allege that the breathalyzer results are a violation of your constitutional rights.

Charged with Drunk Driving?

Ultimately, the options available to you when contesting your drunk driving charge are only limited by the skill and creativity of the attorney you have in your corner. If you have been arrested for DUI in Virginia Beach, the criminal defense lawyers at George Holton Yates, Attorneys at Law, P.C. are prepared to go the distance and fight tooth and nail to guard your rights and driving privileges. With more than 30 years of proven legal experience, our firm has what it takes to minimize your chances of conviction.

Dial (503) 483-4025 or contact our firm online today to discuss your defense options in full detail.