If someone has been pulled over on suspicion of a DUI, the authorities may order the individual to take a breath test. A breath test may be used to determine how much alcohol is in a person’s system. When someone who has alcohol in their breath exhales, that alcohol is oxidized into acetic acid, and the breath test machine analyzes the presence of the acetic acid in the individual’s breath.
In Virginia, the preliminary breath test is a handheld breathalyzer used on the side of the road. It is only used to give the officer probable cause for an arrest because the results of that test cannot be used in a prosecution for DUI. The officer could say that they administered a preliminary breath but cannot tell the judge what the results of that test were.
To learn more about challenging DUI breath tests in Fredericksburg, reach out to a seasoned DUI lawyer today.
There are two types of breathalyzer tests used during the course of a DUI investigation in Fredericksburg. The preliminary breath test which is a handheld device used at the scene of the arrest gives the officer a preliminary idea of the individual’s blood alcohol content. The second test, a breathalyzer, is generally administered at the police station after an individual is arrested. The result of a breathalyzer test can be admitted in a trial against someone for a DUI.
The breathalyzer machine requires multiple samples to be given. Also, the police are obligated to keep up with the calibration and maintenance of the machine and routinely test it for accuracy.
After an arrest, a person will be taken to the police station, and as part of their booking process will be informed that they will be taking a breathalyzer test. The officer will the individual the instructions for the test and that there will be a 20-minute observation period, and that after the 20-minute observation, the person will have to blow a breath sample through a straw into the machine. The machine will then tell the operator what the result is and then the operator will print out the results.
In order to ensure a valid result, the officer administering the breath test needs to properly calibrate the machine, by testing a canister of gas with a known concentration of acetic acid. During the 20-minute observation period, the officer needs to ensure that the individual does not burp or regurgitate. After establishing a proper baseline with the known canisters of gas, the operator has to observe the individual giving the breath sample and then read the results of the tests.
Challenging DUI breath tests in Fredericksburg is possible if the officer does not follow the proper instructions to administer the test. Also, there are many factors that could alter the results of the breath test.
The breath testing devices have to be approved by the General Assembly in Richmond. The General Assembly has a list of machines that are approvable devices, and the authorities must use one of those devices. The machine also has to be maintained properly and calibrated periodically. Each machine is required to have routine testing and routine calibration to ensure its accuracy.
A seasoned defense lawyer experienced in challenging DUI breath tests in Fredericksburg could investigate to ensure that the machines have met all of its requirements.
When planning to challenge the result of a breath test, an individual should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to determine the proper course of action. It is important that you document everything leading up to the breath test.
There are many issues that could arise from a breath test, which is why it is important for you to reach out to a dedicated lawyer who is knowledgeable about challenging DUI breath tests in Fredericksburg.
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