Correct calibration essential to accurate Breathalyzer results

Things begin to get a bit festive this time of year in Louisiana. Colleges are winding down their semesters with finals, and students are beginning to filter out the doors, back to their respective home states and onto summer vacations. Weather is typically warming up, which naturally draws many more people outdoors than in colder months. Tourists are often traveling to and through the state, and local schools are hosting proms and graduations that create heavy traffic patterns and other potential driving issues.

When you least expect it, you may find yourself in trouble with the law if you get into a traffic accident after one of these or another occasion, or you enjoy a glass of champagne or other alcoholic beverage and are then accused of drunk driving during a traffic stop. Such incidents can quickly change joyful events to living nightmares.

Complications often involve Breathalyzer results

Perhaps police have pulled you over before, so it doesn't cause you as much anxiety as it would for someone facing similar challenges for the first time. However, even if you have undergone a Breathalyzer test in the past, each test is different due to a particular device's calibration at the time. Following are some important facts regarding Breathalyzer tests:

  • In order to consistently produce accurate results, a Breathalyzer device must be checked on a regular basis and appropriately maintained.
  • Not everyone is properly trained to administer a Breathalyzer. Accurate results may be directly related to whether the person administering the test has certification to do so.
  • Even if a person is certified, it's no guarantee he or she is using the device properly at a given moment.
  • If you become nauseous and vomit, smoke a cigarette, burp or consume food too soon before taking the test, these factors may taint the results.
  • The results of a Breathalyzer test involving a device not properly calibrated according to state laws and accepted standards may not be admissible as evidence in court.

Any one of these issues may affect your personal situation if authorities accuse you of drunk driving and make you stand charges in court. The summer you had planned may be vastly different if you spend it traveling back and forth to court appointments and worrying about whether you'll be going to jail or losing your driver's license. If you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, you will likely incur an automated license suspension, which could make vacation travel or even commuting to work each day rather difficult.

Drunk driving charges do not necessarily mean a court will convict you. In Louisiana, as in all other states, you have a right to build as strong a defense as possible for any charges against you. An experienced criminal defense attorney is a good alliance to have on hand at such times, as he or she may be able to help you obtain more positive results in court than if you act on your own accord.

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