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Breath Tests

Breath Test Lawyer Phoenix

Breath Tests and DUI Arrests in AZ

If an officer pulls you over on suspicion of drunk driving, it is likely that you will be asked to participate in several different tests to help determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). These can include something as simple as a field sobriety test on the spot and something as complex as a blood test performed in a lab.

One of the most common ways to measure a person's BAC is by conducting a breath test. Results may be deemed unreliable however, because studies have shown that there may be a variety of testing errors, causing law enforcement officials to misdiagnose drivers and wrongly accuse them of a DUI.

The integrity of a breath test may be compromised by:

  • Your physiology
  • Environmental factors
  • Procedural error
  • Equipment failure or malfunction
  • Improper police conduct
  • Your diet, heartburn, acid reflux

If you submit to the test without question, you will be asked to blow into a small machine which will convert the amount of alcohol detected in your breath, into the amount of content that may be found in your bloodstream. Even when your BAC level is detected to be 0.16% which is twice the legal limit, if the test results can be proven inaccurate due to external factors or product malfunction then it will not stand in court.

An experienced attorney is aware of these small discrepancies and will use them to you advantage by slowly using them to dismantle the prosecutor's case bit by bit.

Can I Refuse a Breath Test?

There seems to be much confusion as to a person's rights when pulled over under suspicion for driving under the influence. One of the most frequent questions we receive at Knowles Law Firm is "Can I refuse to take a breath test?"

The answer is yes, you always have the right to choose. No one can force you to submit to this test, but there are potential consequences for doing so.

Arizona Laws on Chemical Tests

Arizona law requires that anyone arrested under suspicion of drunk driving must submit to a chemical test. The operative word here is "arrested." Law enforcement can only require that you submit to a chemical test, usually a breath test although in some cases blood or urine tests could be required, after a lawful arrest.

If you refused a breath test or took a test and tested .08 BAC or higher, a Phoenix DUI attorney at our firm could potentially build a case around the arrest not being lawful, because at this point a breath test would violate your Fourth Amendment rights.

What Happens If I Refuse a Breath Test?

If you do choose to refuse a breath test, your driver's license will automatically be suspended. Even at this point, you have the right to contest this suspension at an administrative hearing through the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). This is known as Arizona's "implied consent law" and it can be found in § 28-1321 of the statutes.

You Have 15 Days to Save Your Driver's License

Immediately upon refusing a breath test, a law enforcement official can serve an order of suspension that will go into effect within 15 days. You have this amount of time to request a hearing to contest this suspension.

If you refuse a breath test and do not contest your suspension by requesting a hearing within 15 days, you will lose your license for 12 months or two years (for a second or subsequent offense within 84 months).

Some people choose to refuse a breath test because they do not want to risk having this evidence submitted in their DUI case. What is important is that you retain a skillful attorney for your defense to represent you at the MVD hearing so that you do not lose your driving privileges.

Solid Defense Against Breath Test Results

If it is determined that your BAC is over the legal limit of 0.08, you will be criminally charged with driving under the influence, even if your BAC is below that, you may be at risk just by showing signs of impairment. Many people view a failed breath test as insurmountable evidence of guilt in their case. This, however, is completely untrue. In fact, the breath test is subject to error and by working with an experienced defense lawyer you will be able to attack the actual test to help protect your interests.

Common sources of errors in the breath test include the following:

  • Calibration - These machines are delicate and sensitive to substances tainting their results. For this reason, mandatory maintenance on the machines is required to ensure that they are continually operating in prime condition. On a regular schedule, these machines need to be calibrated to check and test their settings - and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that they are accurate. This will also be done to check any contamination of the machine.
  • Extenuating factors - There are certain outside factors that can cause the machine to pick up on compounds that it believes to be alcohol. This can lead to a high readout for someone who has not even had a drink of alcohol. For instance, a diabetic could cause a false reading because of high level of acetone in their system.
  • Alcohol pre-existing in the mouth - Sometimes, the machine will pick up on alcohol on the breath that has nothing to do with the level of impairment of the driver. For instance, if the driver had just taken a swig of mouthwash or had just recently had a light amount of alcohol, there could still be traces of it in the mouth itself that could skew the readout that is meant to read alcohol that is solely in the breath.

Experienced Phoenix DUI Lawyers Fighting for You

Facing a DUI is not a simple matter. In fact, it can be extremely frightening experience and can cause lasting damages to your future. When this occurs, you need to be confident that you are working with a DUI attorney in Phoenix that you can trust to and know that they will do whatever is necessary to help you protect your legal rights. You can be sure that this is exactly what you will receive, should you choose the Knowles Law Firm, PLC.

Led by Attorney Anthony Knowles, who has previous experience as a law enforcement officer, their legal team has the extensive experience and knowledge that you deserve as you move forward in your case. They are deeply invested in the outcome of your case and will therefore do everything in their power to help you and defend your best interests.

You are not just another case number to them—you are an important individual and will be treated as such. Contact a Phoenix DUI attorney from the firm as soon as possible by calling (602) 702-5431 or using our online form.

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