A Rhode Island police officer who believes that you are driving while impaired might conduct a traffic stop. During a traffic stop, you may be asked to submit to a Breathalyzer test. The results of such a test may be used to justify taking you into custody for drunk driving. However, there are several strategies that can be used to challenge them.
The machine needs to be calibrated before it is used
If the Breathalyzer machine used in your case wasn’t properly calibrated, it may produce an inflated blood alcohol reading. In Rhode Island, you cannot operate a vehicle if your blood alcohol level is above .08. However, it is worth noting that you can still be charged and convicted of DUI even if your blood alcohol level is below that threshold.
A Breathalyzer machine could provide an inaccurate reading for other reasons
The results of a Breathalyzer test could be skewed because you suffer from acid reflux or have similar health issues. If you consume pasta sauce, a breath mint or spicy foods, it could result in an elevated test result. Finally, as your blood alcohol level changes as your body processes liquor or beer, a test may not be reliable if it isn’t taken in a timely manner.
Was there a reason to stop your vehicle?
Generally speaking, a police officer must have some basis to believe that a driver is violating the law before conducting a traffic stop. Alternatively, an officer may conduct a stop if there is reason to believe that a motorist is wanted for violating the law in the past. However, you cannot be stopped simply because you were driving late at night or were driving in a particular part of town.
If you are convicted of drunk driving, you may be sentenced to jail time, a fine or other penalties. However, it may be possible to have a DUI charge dropped by having evidence such as the results of a Breathalyzer test suppressed by a judge.