Can You Dispute a Breathalyzer’s Test Results in South Carolina?

cropped view of driver taking breathalyzer from policeman while sitting in car

A driving while under the influence (DUI) charge can be frightening. While it may seem like the evidence against you is insurmountable, do not be intimidated. Several factors can introduce errors in readings, which is why their results can be disputed in court. Please continue reading to learn how you can challenge a roadside breathalyzer’s test results and how a determined Chesterfield County DUI Lawyer can effectively defend your rights.

What is a Breathalyzer Test?

In South Carolina, law enforcement officers often utilize breathalyzer devices to gauge a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to determine whether they are operating a vehicle while under the influence. Essentially, this diagnostic instrument measures how much alcohol is in the air you breathe out. The legal driving limit is 0.08% in South Carolina.

Can You Challenge a Breathalzyer’s Test Results?

As mentioned above, various factors can affect the accuracy of a breathalyzer test. For instance, other compounds in the breath, the temperature, your health, and human error can all influence the accuracy of readings. While these devices can be a valuable indicator of a person’s BAC, they are not always accurate, meaning they can be challenged. The following include some of the possible defenses to dispute breathalyzer test results in court:

  • The device was not properly calibrated: Proper calibration is crucial for accurate readings. The officer must regularly test the effectiveness and functionality of the breath-testing device. Failure to calibrate periodically can lead to overestimated BAC levels. If there are irregular calibration records, the accuracy and reliability of the breathalyzer reading could be doubted.
  • The officer operating the device was not qualified or adequately certified: If the officer lacked the proper training, you could challenge a breathalyzer test result. The results may be excluded in court if the officer was unlicensed or had an expired license.
  • The officer failed to comply with the 20-minute observing period: The test operator must have continuously observed you for 20 minutes prior to administering the test. If they fail to adhere to the 20-minute rule, the breath test results may be inadmissible. Certain factors can result in skewed results.
  • Illegal search: A breathalyzer test result can be thrown out if the officer had no legal right to stop you. The officer must have probable cause for initiating a traffic stop.

A DUI conviction can have serious consequences, including steep monetary fines, driver’s license suspension, and even jail time. If you’re facing charges for DUI based on the results of a breathalyzer test, please don’t hesitate to contact a Chesterfield County DUI lawyer from the Cockrell Law Firm, P.C. Our legal team is prepared to help you explore available defenses and effectively represent your interests.