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Breathalyzer calibration is a key criminal defense issue

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

In Texas and other states, implied consent laws mean that a driver who refuses to take a Breathalyzer test in connection with a suspected DWI arrest may have his or her driver’s license suspended for six months or more. A Breathalyzer is a device that registers the blood alcohol content in a person’s bloodstream. However, the test is not 100% reliable, especially if it was not properly calibrated prior to use. In fact, this issue is often a central focus in criminal defense proceedings.

Understand Texas laws before heading to court

While every state operates under its own laws and guidelines regarding Breathalyzer calibration, most states adhere to the guidelines included in the following list:

  • The device used must be on the official list of accepted devices.
  • The person who administers the test must have first received proper training and certification.
  • Two measurable readings within a certain percentage of each other must be captured.
  • The person tested must not eat, vomit, burp or smoke within a specific time frame before the test.
  • The device must be properly calibrated.

Calibration involves checking of a Breathalyzer device to make sure it is working properly and registering accurate results at regular intervals. If any of these guidelines are disregarded, the court may deem test results inadmissible as evidence in a DUI case.

How to show that a Breathalyzer may not have been properly calibrated

Facing arrest for suspected driver intoxication can be an emotional experience that causes problems in all aspects of a person’s life. Every Texas driver is guaranteed the opportunity to refute DWI charges in court. An experienced criminal defense attorney can subpoena the maintenance and calibration records of a Breathalyzer device, which may come in handy if a client claims that police did not follow proper procedure.