Over 30 percent of fatal traffic accidents each year involve alcohol. In fact, each day, 30 people die in motor vehicle accidents caused by drunk drivers. Is it any wonder that citizens and law enforcement fight hard for harsh penalties for those convicted of DUI? Is it any wonder that tax payers applaud the use of new technology to identify and prosecute those whom police arrest under suspicion of driving drunk?
Like many, you probably took for granted that the equipment law enforcement uses to register a driver's blood alcohol concentration is top-of-the-line. After all, the rights and futures of many depend on the accuracy and truthfulness of those machines and techniques. However, that assurance may have changed after your recent arrest when an Intoxilyzer registered that your BAC was over the legal limit.
False positives are easy to achieve
Breath test machinery is increasingly under scrutiny. In Florida alone, the courts wrongly convict hundreds of people each year for DUI based on faulty or questionable Intoxilyzer readings. Apparently, this is happening all over the country, leading many civil rights advocates to wonder about the future of breath tests in the fight against drunk driving.
Some of the frequent complaints about breath tests include the ease with which they register false positives. In fact, you may be shocked at how many common factors can skew the results, including:
- Radio frequencies, as from police scanners
- Ethanol emitted if you have certain medical issues
- Acetone emitted if you have diabetes
- Gases emitted when you are fasting
- Hand sanitizer
- Windshield wiper fluid
This list does not even include the mechanical or electrical issues that are possible with any type of machinery. Failure to properly maintain or calibrate the equipment can lead to people like you facing false accusations.
Protecting your civil rights
In some cases, simply being arrested for DUI can result in serious consequences, jeopardizing your job, relationships and future opportunities. While law enforcement certainly has a duty to protect the public from the dangers of drunk drivers, they also have an obligation to do so without infringing on your civil rights.
If police arrested you and charged you with DUI based on a breath test, you may have cause to challenge the charges. An attorney will look at the validity of the arrest, the reliability of the equipment and the circumstances surrounding the police stop. With an effective defense, your chances of a positive resolution improve.