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Challenging the reliability of a breath test in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2022 | OUI/DWI |

If you have been charged with an OUI in Massachusetts, you may wonder how to challenge the breath test administered at the time of your arrest. Therefore, let’s discuss some of the most common ways you can use to build a defense.

The test kit was not reliable

You can mount a successful OUI defense by proving to the court that the test kit used on you was not accurate. Many judges in Massachusetts could allow this particular defense because several scientific studies have shown that a breathalyzer is likely to produce a false-positive result if the driver was around alcoholic fumes for some time.

You can also argue that the breathalyzer was improperly calibrated. However, to use this defense, you must know when the machine was last calibrated before it was used on you and if there have been reported issues of unreliable results in the past.

Proper procedure wasn’t observed when conducting the test

If an officer does not follow the proper steps when conducting a breathalyzer test, the results could be inaccurate. For example, if they do not wait at least 15 minutes before administering the test or take more than two hours, the results obtained would be unreliable. This is because alcohol takes time to absorb into your system and also, and it continues to saturate if you wait for too long.

Additionally, the law requires only officers trained on breathalyzer tests to administer them. If you prove that the officer who gave you the test wasn’t properly trained, you may have grounds to have the court dismiss your charges.

Lack of probable cause

In some cases, it may be possible to challenge the stop itself by arguing that there was no probable cause for the officer to pull you over in the first place. If the arresting police officer did not have a valid reason for stopping you, any evidence gathered during the stop, including a breath test, may be thrown out.

OUI is a serious offense in Massachusetts. If found guilty, you can serve up to 30 months in prison, pay $5000 in fines, have your license suspended, or it may affect other unrelated aspects of your life. Therefore, if there’s any possibility of challenging a conviction, it’s important to make the most out of it.