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Can I challenge a Breathalyzer’s results?

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2021 | Drunk Driving

Let’s get this out of the way – drinking under influence is not a brilliant idea no matter what. That being said, if you have been arrested on drunk drinking charges, the results of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the alleged offense can be very important to your case. In Virginia, the per se limit that equates to automatic intoxication and impairment is 0.08

If you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under influence, you will be required to submit to a blood, breath or urine test to ascertain the alcohol level in your system. The Breathalyzer test is by far the most popular method of testing whether the driver is operating a motor vehicle with a BAC level above the statutory limit or not. Fortunately, you can challenge the validity of the Breathalyzer test result during the trial.

Here are two ways you can challenge a Breathalyzer test result in court:

Improper test administration

Breathalyzers are scientific instruments that must be properly used to deliver accurate results. As such, the officer administering the test on you must be properly trained and certified to administer the test accurately. They should properly direct you on when and how to blow into the equipment and must be able to rectify any missteps that can result in faulty results. You can challenge the validity of a Breathalyzer result if the administering officer made mistakes while executing the test. 

Wrong timing for the test

After drinking alcohol, your blood alcohol content (BAC) will significantly continue to rise for some time. As such, it is important that the Breathalyzer test is administered within two hours of when you last operated a motor vehicle. If the officer takes too long to administer the test, the result may not be a true reflection of your BAC while you were driving. 

Most people wrongly assume that if they register an above-limit result following a Breathalyzer test, then they are as good as guilty of drunk driving. However, this is not always the case.