I Failed a Breathalyzer Test – Now What? Grand Rapids Criminal Law Attorney Discusses 4 Possible Defenses

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2016 | Drunk Driving |

Highway Patrol Police Car Next to Alcoholic Drink and Keys Under Spot Light.

Intoxicated driving is a common offense in the United States – and Michigan is no exception. There are strict penalties for OWI, OWVI, OWPD and related convictions. These may include a fine, jail time, license suspension, vehicle immobilization, installment of an ignition interlock device, and other consequences. A first OWI conviction can result in a maximum fine of $500, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Also, you could spend 93 days behind bars and face up to 360 hours of community service, among other penalties. The consequences are worse for repeat offenders. If Michigan police arrested you for OWI, the prosecuting authority must prove that you were illegally intoxicated at the time of the arrest. Often, the prosecutor will rely on the results of a breathalyzer test to secure a conviction. Many people mistakenly assume that they are automatically guilty if they fail the breathalyzer. However, there still may be a defense that works in your favor. Perhaps the device was incorrectly calibrated, or maybe a malfunction affected the results. A Grand Rapids criminal law attorney from Gordon & Hess, PLC can evaluate your arrest and structure a comprehensive defense. Call 616-369-7452 today to schedule a free consultation. Until then, read on to learn four possible ways to challenge breathalyzer results in court:

  1. Equipment Malfunction

Breathalyzers are complicated devices. Their intricacy makes them prone to malfunction and failure. Breathalyzers require frequent maintenance to lengthen their lifespan. A lack of maintenance or a defect can affect the results. If the results may have been inaccurate, then they will not be admissible in court.

  1. Incorrect Calibration or Maintenance

According to BACtrack, a company that manufactures breathalyzers, incorrect or lack of calibration can affect the results. In fact, this is one of the main reasons for inaccuracies. Furthermore, if the device was not in use for a significant amount of time, the sensor may have dried out. If there is no record of maintenance and calibration, then this criminal defense may be effective.

  1. Improper Administration

The results of a breathalyzer may be inadmissible if the officer did not administer the test correctly. Michigan police undergo extensive training on how to use breathalyzers properly. However, they can still make mistakes – especially if the officer is inexperienced.

  1. Other Factors Influenced Breathalyzer Results

Sober people can fail breathalyzer tests. Mouthwash and other alcohol-based products can inflate the results. You may need expert testimony to help you prove the cause of the inaccurate reading. In addition to challenging breathalyzer results, there may be other defenses that apply to your case. Sometimes people have no choice but to drive – for example, if a child was injured and there was no sober person available to drive him or her to the hospital. If Michigan police arrested you for operating while impaired or a related offense, contact Gordon & Hess, PLC. A Grand Rapids criminal law attorney can protect your interests in an unpredictable justice system. We offer 30 years of combined experience representing clients throughout west Michigan. Call 616-369-7452 to schedule a free half-hour consultation.