Breath and Blood Tests

Understanding Breath and Blood Tests in Ventura

Were You Given a Breath Test?

The breathalyzer test is the most important piece of evidence used to convict an individual of a DUI charge. It is used to measure the units of alcohol in the breath of an individual suspected of driving under the influence. If the blood alcohol content (BAC) result is 0.08% or higher, the police officer will arrest you and you will be charged with DUI. What most people do not know is that the breathalyzer device is not always accurate.

Many factors can influence the accuracy of the blood alcohol content result. Is the device certified, has it been well maintained, are there existing defects, and was the test properly administered by the police officer? The breath test only offers an approximation of what the alcohol content is in the blood. It is important to request a second breath sample to test independently in order to contest the result of the initial breath test conducted by the police officer.

A small margin of error in the accuracy of a breath test can have large consequences on the individual charged with DUI. Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP will be able to offer you sound legal advice in charges of DUI, from misdemeanor to felony. Our firm's reputation for thoroughly examining the evidence, challenging breath, and blood tests, and collaborating with medical specialists gives our clients a better chance to fight such charges.

Challenging Breath & Blood Tests

In some cases, officers may still arrest drivers with lower BAC levels if they believe that their driving has been significantly impaired. Regardless of the facts of a case, chemical tests are mandatory. For drivers who refuse to take a test, the law of implied consent will subject them to automatic driver's license penalties, including driver's license suspensions.

In cases where drivers do submit to a breath or blood test, there are a number of defense strategies that can be used to challenge the evidence.

  • Breath Tests - Although breathalyzer tests have become the go-to method for testing BAC levels, they are far from perfect. In fact, there is a great deal of data that shows how inaccurate breath tests can be. When defending clients charged with DUI, our Ventura DUI attorneys work to highlight the margin of error inherent to these tests. We also secure calibration records for testing devices used by officers to ensure that they were regularly maintained. If there is evidence that breathalyzers were not routinely calibrated, for example, it can be used to show that the results of a breath test were inaccurate.
  • Blood Tests - Blood tests also have a certain margin of error that can be highlighted during the defense process. Rising BAC levels and improper blood draws are common defense strategies. Just as with breathalyzer tests, blood tests are in no way perfect.

Ultimately, your defense strategy will depend on the unique facts of your case, especially the arresting protocol of officers and the recorded BAC level. In addition to looking into the testing protocol, chain of custody, and other elements of testing blood or breath samples, our legal team analyzes the protocol used by arresting officers to determine if they have probable cause to obtain a sample. Without probable cause, evidence obtained in a breath or blood test would be considered an unlawful search and seizure, and therefore inadmissible as evidence in a case. By taking a comprehensive approach when looking at chemical tests, we aim to find holes in the government’s case.

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