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Does a failed breath test mean you’re guilty of a DUI?

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Posted By McAdams Law | July 17 2020 | DUI, Firm News

The collection of evidence plays a key role in the ability of Colorado state prosecutors to bring successful criminal charges against individuals. There are generally three kinds of evidence that the courts will use in drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI) cases.

The first will involve an officer’s testimony about the reason that they pulled someone over and the behavior of the defendant during the traffic stop, as well as the resulting field sobriety test. The second kind of evidence may involve security camera footage, traffic camera footage or witness testimony from those who saw someone driving dangerously or drinking before they got in the vehicle.

The third kind of evidence is chemical evidence, usually in the form of a breath test. If you failed a breath test despite not thinking you were under the influence, are you automatically guilty of a DUI?

Chemical breath tests are not as reliable as people assume

If you were to ask the average person on the street about how reliable or accurate chemical breath tests are, you will likely hear someone enthusiastically praising the ability of these tests to defend the public by locating impaired drivers and making it easier for the state to charge them. However, research by professionals, including national-level journalists, has shown the opposite may be true.

Chemical breath tests are surprisingly unreliable and can easily convince the state to bring charges against someone who did not commit the crime. Everything from the failure of the device itself to medical conditions that affect the person accused of a DUI offense may influence how accurate the readings are.

Failures and mistakes with chemical breath tests are so common that certain judges and jurisdictions have begun to question or exclude them during criminal proceedings.

You have the right to challenge inaccurate breath test results

When an officer asked you to perform a breath test, you probably agreed quickly. You assumed it would exonerate you because you knew you weren’t drunk. Unfortunately, the inaccurate test results led to the officer arresting you and the state charging you with a crime.

You may have multiple ways to defend yourself against pending charges, including the option of challenging the chemical breath test results.

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