If you have been arrested and charged with DUI in Tampa, your charge was probably dependent on a positive blood alcohol or BAC test being made on or after your arrest. These tests are notoriously unreliable and the test procedure, as well as test results, can be challenged by an experienced Tampa DUI lawyer. When you are arrested and tested for blood alcohol, you should try and remember as many as features as possible about the way these tests were conducted. A critical examination of test records as well as an examination of the way equipment was maintained and officers were trained to use the equipment may help you defeat your DUI charge.
The Time Factor
When you are charged with DUI the most important evidence for those prosecuting is your blood alcohol level. If you have a BAC level of 0.08% at the time you were driving, then this is sufficient to establish that you were DUI. Of course, it is impossible for police officers to actually test you accurately while you are driving so the test is always taken at some point after you have been stopped and arrested. This time factor is critical. By law, the test must be less than three hours after your arrest. Too soon and your blood alcohol may only just be increasing, giving a false reading.
All testing equipment must be scrupulously maintained and a record of this maintenance must be kept for inspection by a DUI lawyer. Generally, of all the three main types of test, the breath test, which is the most common method, routinely seems to be the most unreliable test. Equipment is not always repaired properly, it can be incorrectly calibrated or contaminated by substances that give false readings.
Untrained or Lax Personnel
BAC tests need to be handled by trained officers. When your DUI lawyer investigates the reliability of a BAC test that showed you were over 0.08, they will be looking for evidence that the personnel involved in using the equipment knew what they were doing. Common problems here are not waiting for fifteen minutes before using a breathalyzer – an officer is supposed to make sure you don’t burp or belch before your test which could raise the alcohol level in your breath beyond its true reading. An inability to correctly calibrate equipment or take several readings is also a common mistake.
Many people who are charged with DUI manage to have their BAC tests thrown out because it can be demonstrated that the BAC reading was influenced by a number of other factors that gave a false reading. Common causes of a false reading include health complaints like diabetes or gastro intestinal reflux disease. Medications or mouthwashes taken before the test like toothpaste and drugs for blood pressure control can also produce false readings. Even someone on a low carb / high protein diet might produce substances that mimic alcohol in the breath.
Blood samples, although generally regarded as more reliable, can be contaminated either before or after being taken. There is a procedure for this method of testing, which if followed makes alcohol tests quite accurate, but these procedures are not always followed very well at all.
Unreliable BAC tests are discovered every day in Tampa DUI cases. You need to hire an experienced DUI lawyer to help ensure that you get affair trial and are not convicted using false blood alcohol readings.
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