If a police officer in New York stops you on the road on suspicion of driving under the influence, they will conduct a Breathalyzer test. If the result is 0.08 or above, they can arrest you immediately. But that doesn’t mean that your case is shut or that a conviction is inevitable. Many factors affect the breath test results; thus, you can challenge it to avoid harsh penalties. Here are some possible defenses you can use.
A medical condition skewed the test results
Certain medical conditions can give false Breathalyzer results. For example, if you have diabetes, your high blood sugar levels can cause an inaccurate reading. Other diseases that can affect breath test results are gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. If you have any of these conditions, provide evidence that can support your claim.
You were on medication
Besides medical conditions, medications can also give false positive breath test results. Examples of drugs that can register high BAC include acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, mouthwash, naproxen, etc. In addition, some of these medications can make it more difficult for you to blow into the breath test machine properly.
The officer who conducted the test was not qualified
A police officer who conducts a Breathalyzer test must be certified to operate the machine following the required standard operating procedures. You can ask the officer to confirm their certification first, and then ensure they follow the proper steps. For example, they must give you a 20-minute observation period before administering the test. If anything is amiss, you can challenge the results.
There was a lack of probable cause
Police officers must have compelling reasons to stop you under suspicion of a DUI in New York. For example, if you were frequently braking, driving extremely slow or erratically, drifting or straddling the center line, they will have the right to pull you over. However, if they stop you while you’re following all the traffic rules, you can challenge every part of your arrest, including Breathalyzer results, searches and seizures.
DUI convictions come with very harsh penalties. For example, besides the potential fines, jail term, license suspension and probation, the criminal record can affect you when applying for a job, fighting for child custody or joining the army. If there’s even half a chance to successfully challenge your Breathalyzer test results, you should fight the charges.