Breathalyzer Investigations

Each year, nearly a million people are pulled over by law enforcement for drunk driving – a stop that typically includes a breathalyzer test to estimate the driver’s blood-alcohol level. If it’s 0.08 or higher, legal trouble is on the horizon. However, according to a recent investigation by the New York Times, these tests are becoming increasingly unreliable.  

Breathalyzer Test Inaccurate Results 

Virtually every police station in America uses these devices, including Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. But what law enforcement doesn’t want you to know is that many machines show consistently skewed results.  

Here’s why…  

  • Most breathalyzer tests haven’t been properly calibrated, and therefore, can yield results up to 40% to higher.  
  • Maintaining these machines is the responsibility of police departments who have inadequate standards and are inexperienced in this type of technology.  
  • Programming mistakes or missed updates in the machines’ software.   
  • Some states have even disabled safeguards intended to ensure the tests’ accuracy.  

The Times uncovered a nationwide problem. A panel of judges described our breathalyzer tests as a “magic black box” with “significant and continued anomalies.” In recent years, thousands of breathalyzer tests have been invalidated across the country. Judges in some states have thrown out nearly 30,000 breath tests a year. The accuracy of Florida breathalyzer tests is questionable, and our DUI attorney can skillfully argue their results. 

Implied Consent Law 

Check your license. You consent to any sobriety test required by the state of Florida. This means that given reasonable probable cause, law enforcement can require you to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) –or suffer mandatory license suspension.  

However, in 2011, the Florida Supreme Court decided that a driver’s license could not be suspended for refusing a Breathalyzer test if the DUI arrest was unlawful. Therefore, police must have stopped you with reasonable suspicion. If the stop was made without probable cause, then your refusal to submit to a breath test cannot be used against you to deny driving privileges. 

A successful DUI defense will consider all the evidence including breath tests. As former prosecutors, I know that the BAC test is a key part of their case. Our mission as Tampa DUI lawyers is to suppress or otherwise challenge the results. Call now to discuss the specifics of your case.  

The penalty for refusing to take a Breathalyzer test in Florida is a mandatory license suspension.  

Challenging Breathalyzer Results 

Even though the inaccuracy of these tests is well-known, every state uses them and even punishes drivers who refuse to take the test when pulled over for DUI. The real problem? All too often, innocent people are wrongfully convicted of DUI based on faulty test results. At Stechschulte Nell, we have dealt with countless DUI cases involving inaccurate breathalyzer tests – often resulting in a case dismissed.  

A breath test challenge is just one way that our DUI defense team can build.  These machines shouldn’t be “de facto arbiters of guilt.”  Call Stechschulte Nell to defend your DUI case!

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI in the Tampa Bay area, it is critical to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately. For more information on our legal services, payment plans, or to schedule a free case review, please call our Tampa DUI defense law office at 813-280-1244.  


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