Most state laws make having a blood alcohol content, or BAC, of .08 or higher against the law. Common test officers use in Jackson, Mississippi, is a breathalyzer, which requires a breath sample. However, the accuracy of breathalyzers still gets debated, and drivers may challenge test results.
Lack of calibration
Laws require breathalyzers to be calibrated periodically to check for accuracy and ensure all the parts work to avoid false results. The defense can petition the court to get the records to ensure the device has been calibrated according to law.
The officer must follow the training to administer the test properly and register two results within .02. The device needs time to warm up, and the officer should observe the driver for fifteen minutes.
Health conditions, such as diabetes, can produce mouth alcohol, or small amounts of alcohol residue in the mouth. People with diabetes also produce ketones and acetones, which are similar to alcohol and can give false positives.
If their blood sugar is too low, it may cause them to give symptoms of intoxication, such as dizziness and disorientation. Other health conditions, such as heart disease, GERD, and acid reflux, and high-protein diets, may also produce a false positive.
Lack of reasonable suspicion and probable cause
Reasonable suspicion means the officer witnessed certain actions or behavior that could indicate drunk driving, so they can pull the driver over. For example, running red lights, excessive speeding, and constant weaving are common signs of a drunk driver.
However, the officer needs probable cause to make a DUI arrest, which means evidence from witnessing behaviors, driver admissions, and test results. If the officer doesn’t present either element, the breathalyzer results will likely be inadmissible, and the case dismissed.
A good defense can challenge the breathalyzer results and at least get reduced charges through a plea deal. In some cases, a first offense can get alternative sentencing, such as alcohol education.