One of the biggest pieces of evidence used against a defendant in a DUI-related matter is the blood or breath test evidence that supports that they were in fact over the limit at the time of the arrest. If you have submitted to a blood or breath test and the evidence suggests you were legally intoxicated, you may assume that you have no legs to stand on when it comes to your defense.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. These tests aren’t always conducted perfectly, and you need to make sure incorrect evidence isn’t being used to make a case against you. But how can these tests be contaminated, and moreover, how can you know they were contaminated? We take a look at five common ways breath and blood tests can be contaminated in DUI cases in today’s blog.
How Breath And Blood Tests Can Be Wrong
Breath and blood tests are rooted in sound science, but that doesn’t mean that human or mechanical error can’t be introduced into the equation and contaminate the results of your test. Here’s a look at five ways breath and blood tests are commonly contaminated.
1. Improper Administration – Both blood and breath tests can be administered correctly, and that can contaminate the accuracy of your results. Police and medical professionals have strict guidelines they need to follow, and if they don’t the test results can be invalid. For example, police officers are often required to observe an individual for a certain amount of time prior to testing. If the person vomits, burps or consumes more alcohol, it can throw off the results.
2. Improper Storage – Breath and blood results and equipment need to be stored correctly to maintain their integrity. If blood tests are unlabeled or stored in an accessible area, you may have a case that your results could have been contaminated with. Similarly, if breath testing equipment was left in a hot car or stored improperly and subjected to physical damage, it may no longer be able to collect accurate data.
3. Improper Calibration – Breath test machines need to be regularly calibrated and serviced to ensure they are still providing accurate results. If an inquiry finds that the machine has not been serviced as recommended by the manufacturer, you may be able to challenge the validity of the results.
4. Pre-Existing Health Conditions – As we’ve discussed on the blog in the past, certain health conditions can affect the accuracy of test results. Most commonly, conditions like acid reflux and GERD can contribute to elevated levels of alcohol in your breath test compared to your actual level of intoxication. If you have been medically diagnosed with any of these conditions, or you have reason to believe another medical condition tainted the accuracy of your results, talk to your attorney.
5. Improper Collection – Finally, if the sample collection itself was performed in violation of your rights, the test results can be vacated by a judge. If you were not read your rights prior to test collection or blood was drawn without your permission or a warrant, that is considered an illegal collection and the results would not be allowed in the court of law. Due process needs to be followed when it comes to blood and breath sample collection, and if it’s not, evidence can be thrown out.
But how can you know if any of these factors affected the accuracy of your test, and how can you go about proving it? Simple. Connect with an experienced criminal defense lawyer with a history of challenging evidence collection when the process was performed incorrectly. Don’t be convicted based on invalid evidence. Let us take a look at the whole situation, figure out the best way to challenge an arrest and go to work on your behalf. For more information, or to talk to a lawyer about your options, give Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm a call today at (952) 224-2277.