Many people who get arrested for DUI question whether or not they should have complied with the field and chemical sobriety tests. While many law firms may encourage refusing all DUI tests, there are harsh consequences for violating implied consent laws in Washington, such as losing your driver’s license for one full year for a first offense. Even though there are times when doing so can improve your chances, it is important to speak with a DUI attorney as each case is different.
Another common concern from people who have been arrested for DUI who have submitted to chemical testing is the fear that testing at or above the legal limit will automatically show guilt and result in a conviction. A result of 0.08% or above looks bad, but there is no such thing as automatic guilt. If this were the case there would not even be a need for DUI lawyers in Washington. Regardless of what the test results say, whether you submitted to a breath test or a blood test to determine your BAC, it is up to the State to prove all the elements of your DUI charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Shortcomings of DUI Tests
Many things can go wrong with chemical tests for DUI. Although blood and breath testing methods surely have advanced since they were first enacted to catch drunk drivers, dozens of things can take place to invalidate your sample.
Breath Test Flaws
Today’s breath tests require human interaction for regular maintenance, proper calibration, and repairs. These machines have scientifically advanced significantly since they were first developed in the early 1940s, but so long as humans are involved, there is always a possibility of error as humans are fallible creatures and commonly make mistakes, even if they are properly trained and certified to use the machines. An improperly calibrated machine or a test administrator who does not abide by the procedures are sure to tarnish the legitimacy of the test.
In addition, breath tests may mistakenly pick up on residual mouth alcohol, or alcohol that stays put around your throat and mouth, and contaminate your breath sample by influencing a falsely high read. These machines should only ever pick up deep lung air, which is closest in composition to your blood alcohol content.
Blood Test Flaws
The blood test is the most accurate BAC chemical test, but many things can go wrong with this as well. First, arterial blood is more accurate than venous blood, so it makes a difference where the blood is drawn. Since a person is responsible for drawing the blood and properly storing the sample, many human-made errors are possible. Blood is also an organic compound, which means fermentation can occur. If the proper solution is not added to the blood before it is stored, fermentation can cause a false high read.
For more information about your rights regarding DUI chemical testing, reach out to an experienced WA DUI lawyer like Mr. Daniel J. Murphy Jr.. Murphy’s Law Offices deliver personalized legal services throughout Washington State. Call (253) 312-6122 at any time for a free case evaluation.