The Debate on Breathalyzer Tests Continues

man is doing the breathalyzer testHave you been arrested for driving-under-the-influence (DUI)? Many people are often required to take a breath test, but very few people know that being compelled to take a breath test can violate a person’s constitutional rights. In addition, there has also been evidence that the test itself may be faulty and could lead to wrongful convictions.

Police nationwide use breathalyzers to test a driver’s blood alcohol level and are used to determine if they are over the limit. If a person appears intoxicated during a routine traffic stop, they may be asked to take a breathalyzer test, adds law firms like Ramsay Law Firm PLLC. Many lawyers who have DUI clients in Roseville explain that f they refuse, they can be fined, arrested or even receive a jail sentence, making it effectively mandatory.

Breathalyzers May Be Unconstitutional

The fourth and fifth amendment protects a citizen’s rights against self-incrimination. This right against self-incrimination includes the right to remain silent (Griffin v. California, 380 U.S. 609 (1965), the right to an attorney before speaking to police (Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), that confessions are made voluntarily without coercion (Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1 (1964).

Recently, in Olevik vs State (2017) the Supreme Court declared that submitting to a breath test implicates a person’s right against self-incrimination, although they did not believe that Olevik was coerced into consenting to the test. This judgement sets a precedent that the right to protection from self-incrimination extends beyond interviewing and includes tests like breath, blood and urine samples.

Breathalyzers May Be Faulty

Tests by a software engineer and a security researcher found problems with the calibration of the equipment. These calibration faults could result in flaws that produce incorrect readings on the monitor. This could mean that some of the people arrested for DUI were not drunk. More than a million Americans each year are arrested on the basis of a potentially faulty breathalyzer. However, the manufacturer, Draeger, took legal action against the researchers and further research has been halted.

These new advancements in science and law enforcement could provide a basis for defending DUI defendants. A lawyer specializing in DUI cases in Roseville can give them the best possible chance of winning their case.