D. Scott Rieth Criminal Defense Attorney
941-404-4192 888-352-3179

DUI chemical test results and errors

If a Florida law enforcement officer pulls you to the side of the road and you have been drinking, you may think about refusing to take a breath or chemical test. Florida has an implied consent law, though, so your refusal could lead to a suspended license and a mark against you in court. The good news is that it may be possible to successfully dispute a positive result.

The American Bar Association lists several defenses that DUI attorneys have used to call chemical and breath test accuracy into question.

Breath testing devices

The instrument that checks for alcohol on your breath is computerized. It should be calibrated regularly, and the person who administers the test should receive training to use that particular device.

Not only may a defense attorney question the calibration, he or she may also request the source code in the software to ensure that it meets the standards for accuracy and performance. Typically, a neutral third party expert must examine the software for errors. This may require an independent investigation involving the manufacturer of the device.

Medical issues

Some health problems skew the results of a breath test. During a diabetic ketoacidosis episode, which may occur if the blood glucose rises too high, the device may identify the ketones and acetones the body produces as alcohol.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is another medical problem that may affect test results. This condition may allow alcohol in your stomach to leak into your esophagus, leading to an inaccurately high reading.

Blood draw contamination

If the drawing and storing of your blood does not meet standards, there could be contamination. For example, an alcohol swab used to clean your skin could leave residue behind that the needle collects. Improper packaging, no FDA approval or expiration could compromise the tubes that hold the blood. Yeast could develop and increase the alcohol concentration if there is improper storage.

An experienced DUI defense attorney may be able to recognize when one of these factors comes into play and uncover the evidence that makes a chemical test result inadmissible in court.

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D. Scott Rieth
9040 Town Center Parkway, Suite 103A
Bradenton, FL 34202

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