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Disputing a breath test in Minnesota

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Minnesota police officers use breathalyzer tests to determine the blood alcohol content (BAC) of a driver’s blood. In Minnesota, a BAC higher than 0.08% is legally drunk for most drivers. A BAC higher than 0.04% is illegally drunk for commercial vehicle drivers.

Breathalyzer tests are often accurate, but they’re not perfect. A DUI or DWI claim is serious and will have a profound effect on your life. You can challenge the results of your Breathalyzer test if you feel the results are erroneous.

Inaccurate breathalyzer results

Some situations can cause a breathalyzer to return an inaccurate reading. If your evidence raises doubt about the accuracy of the test, you can possibly have a judge or jury mistrust the test results.

For example, mouth alcohol contamination may have caused the breathalyzer’s inaccurate reading. This contamination can occur if you take the test soon after using mouthwash or taking cough syrup or cold medicine. The results of the test could have then been influenced by the alcohol in your mouth from the medicine, which is not an indication of the alcohol in your blood.

Illegal testing

The arresting officer must have probable cause to perform a breathalyzer test, so if the officer had no good reason to perform the test, then it was done illegally. There must also have been a good reason to pull you over.

If the officer pulled you over for swerving or driving erratically, that counts as reasonable suspicion that you’re drunk. But if the officer pulled you over for an expired tag, there’s generally no reason to perform a breathalyzer test. However, it is probable cause for a test if your speech is slurred or you smell like alcohol.

Faulty testing equipment

A breathalyzer is a piece of electronic equipment used to perform measurements. It needs to be calibrated according to the manufacturer’s standards, so if it’s not calibrated often enough, it is more likely to return inaccurate readings. You can argue that the breathalyzer used for your test was in need of calibration.

Disputing a DUI claim

Drivers are likely to trust breathalyzer tests and not challenge the results. But there are ways to dispute the results if you feel they’re inaccurate. There’s no guarantee a judge or jury will decide in your favor, but it’s a possibility.