How a Nashville DUI Attorney Discusses Improperly Administered Breath Test
Posted on Thursday, September 17th, 2015 at 9:28 pm
If you have been accused of driving under the influence, a Nashville DUI attorney may be able to help ensure that your rights are protected. The 15-minute observation period for a DUI is often compromised by police shortcuts that can render a poorly administered breath test less credible at trial. Breath samples may only be collected once you have been observed by police for a period of no less than 15 minutes. The 15 minutes must be continuous and during this time you must not have ingested any alcohol, vomited, smoked or eaten any food. The continuous observation requirement is not always clear in its wording. Your attorney may choose to call an expert who can testify that you must have been observed continuously for 15 minutes prior to the administration of a breath test. This prevents alcohol in the mouth and stomach from interfering with the results of the breath test. Police often list the time spent in transit to the police station as a fulfillment of the observation requirement. This type of behavior is often deemed as inappropriate by a jury and may result in the test being considered invalid. Many prosecutors try to have the test deemed valid on the grounds of observation by multiple officers, including those who are unqualified to perform this duty.
Your Nashville DUI attorney should ask the observing officer if he or she understands the purpose of the continuous observation requirement. Most police officers are trained to avoid admitting to knowledge of how the breath test equipment operates. Your defense team should explain to the jury that the observation period is necessary to ensure an accurate breath test. The argument that the attending officer’s idea was not formed when administering the test affected his ability to do so properly.
The red light example is a popular DUI defense strategy that your legal team may choose to employ. This strategy is based on the principle that people obey red lights because they know the alternative could result in death. Even though the law requires you to observe a red light, the risk of physical harm is generally the reason people choose to obey the law. If people were unaware of the danger in running a red light, the roads would be far more dangerous than they currently are. Most people would simply slow down to ensure that the road was clear before passing through the red light. In the same way, it is important for officers to understand why the 15-minute continuous observation period is necessary before an officer’s ability to understand and administer the test is credible. Officers should always have a clear understanding of the reason why a test or procedure is performed in addition to the proper methods of administration. This not only improves the effectiveness of the test and prevents you from receiving a false reading, but demonstrates that you were dealt with fairly. If this is not the case, your attorney may be able to convince the jury that the officer did not have the necessary understanding to administer the test or properly interpret its results.
Contact a Nashville DUI Attorney
Contact Brent Horst Attorney at Law today at (615) 403-2971 to receive assistance from an experienced Nashville DUI attorney.