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When Are Breath Test Results Admissible in Court Against Me?

 Posted on April 24, 2020 in DUI

Arizona DUI AttorneyMany drivers facing a DUI charge in Arizona ask the same question: when are breath test results admissible as evidence against me? If you have been charged with a DUI, it is important to know the difference between the Portable Breath Test (PBT) and an Intoxilyzer:

Portable Breath Test (PBT).  This handheld device is often used by officer during the initial DUI investigation. However, because these tests are widely considered unreliable and inaccurate, the PBT test is not admissible to be used against you as evidence. Remember, you are not required to submit to a PBT test under any circumstances.  [internal link to pbt blog]

Intoxilyzer.  The second form of breath testing is through the Intoxilyzer 8000, which Arizona uses as its breath test device. However, unlike the PBT, the results from the Intoxilyzer 8000 can be admissible as evidence against you in court.

Arizona law allows the police to use breath test results as evidence if the statute’s requirements are followed. Some of the requirements are:

·        That the device be properly certified by the health services or the department of public safety;

·        That the officer performing the test have a valid permit, issued by the department of health services;

·        That the officer observe the person for twenty minutes before conducting the test;

·        At the officer follow an operation checklist and;

·        That the test was in good operating condition when the test was conducted.

However, many factors affect the machine’s accuracy. In fact, many scientists, judges, lawyers and toxicologists alike criticize the machine as inaccurate and even junk science. Operating errors, improper procedure, temperature ,and the driver’s body variances all affect the machine’s accuracy. It is not unusual for an intoxilyzer to be sent back to the manufacturer for repair or to fix inaccurate results. These are grounds to dismiss the Intoxilyzer’s results as evidence in Court.

Because these machines are very sensitive, they often require frequent calibration to ensure accuracy. Many officers are not trained to calibrate these machines. Devices also contain software errors that result in bad BAC readings. In fact, one New York Times article noted that, in many cases, the yielding results from these PBT tests were at times “40 percent too high”.

New York Times Article Link:

Knowing how to challenge and suppress the Intoxilyzer 8000’s results requires an experienced attorney. Michelle Behan uncovered the Tucson Crime Lab evidence that their breath testing devices are nearly 12% too high and has successfully used that evidence to win jury trials. If you or someone you love is arrested for DUI, contact The Behan Law Group at 520-220-5047.  The lawyers you deserve at a price you can afford.

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