If a person is pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence (DUI), it is extremely likely that the police officer will ask that person to submit to a chemical test in order to determine the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC). One of the most commonly utilized chemical tests is a sample of the alleged offender's breath.
Law enforcement may use portable or stationary devices to test a person's breath, and an officer will read the implied consent statement known as the DL-26 form or the “O'Connell Warning” when asking the driver to submit to a test. While a person who agrees to this type of test and has BAC of 0.08 or higher will be charged with DUI, it is highly important to understand that there may be a multitude of problems with the devices the tests were performed on or mistakes made by the people operating them can result in drunk driving charges being dismissed.
Philadelphia Lawyer Challenging Breath Test Results
If you were recently arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania after blowing 0.08 or higher on a test of your breath, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Joseph Lento will fully investigate the circumstances of your arrest and determine whether there were any errors in how chemical tests were conducted.
Lento Law Firm represents clients throughout Philadelphia County and surrounding areas of Pennsylvania. You can receive a complete evaluation of your case when you call (215) 535-3686 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Philadelphia County Breath Test Information Center
- What are the different kinds of tests that are used in Pennsylvania?
- Are there any factors that may contribute to the machine producing a false positive?
- Can the people operating the tests be responsible for inaccurate results?
Police will typically use one or both of two types of tests when an alleged offender submits a breath specimen:
- Preliminary or Portable Breath Test (PBT) — These types of tests are generally used during roadside testing of alleged offenders. Some of the most commonly used PBTs include Alco Check, BACmaster, and Intoxilyzer 500 devices. Police officers will ask the driver to blow into the portable device and may use the results as probable cause to require additional testing at the police station. These devices simply display test results on an LCD screen but do not print them out. The results of a PBT are not admissible in court, and an alleged offender has the right to refuse submitting to preliminary tests before he or she has been placed under arrest for DUI.
- Stationary or Evidential Breath Test (EBT) — These are the larger machines at police stations, and an alleged offender will face penalties for refusing to submit to tests on these devices. Law enforcement will typically take more than one sample of a person's breath on an EBT to comply with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) regulations and make sure that the samples are reliable. The results of these tests are printed out and can be used in court. There is a wide variety of these kinds of machines approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, including Alcotest, Breathalyzer, and DataMaster models.
Devices that analyze the breath of an alleged offender are assumed to be extremely precise, but the truth is that any one of a number of problems with a PBT or EBT can result in false positives. Some of the most common issues with these machines include, but are not limited to:
- BAC overestimated because of machines' assumed blood breath partition ratio
- Environmental factors
- Improper maintenance
- Machines included non-ethyl alcohol substances in test results
- Radio frequency interference (RFI) or electromagnetic interference (EMI)
- Software bugs or glitches
Even when breath test devices operate properly within an acceptable margin of error, DUI cases can be thrown out because of oversights and errors made by the people handling the tests. PennDOT has very specific requirements for how breath tests need to be handled, and any deviation from protocol can result in BAC evidence being suppressed and a prosecutor not being able to present it as evidence at trial.
A few of the mistakes made by police officers and other officials conducting breath tests may include, but are not limited to:
- Alleged offender tested during peak absorption period
- Breath samples not taken within set period of time
- Breath test device not properly calibrated
- Failure to conduct observation period
- Large margin of difference between BAC samples
- Police officer not certified to administer breath test
Find the Best DUI Lawyer for Fighting Breath Test Results in Philadelphia
Did you recently submit to a breath test in Pennsylvania and get arrested for DUI? You will want to immediately seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Joseph Lento knows that breath test results do not translate to an automatic conviction, and he will thoroughly review every aspect of your arrest in a relentless effort to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. If you live in the greater Philadelphia County are, let Lento Law Firm review your case by calling (215) 535-5353 right now to take advantage of a free legal consultation.