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What Are The Potential Errors In Breathalyzer Tests?


There are a couple of potential errors in breathalyzer tests that an attorney can use. The first line of defense is what constitutes probable cause. The second line of defense is if the officer didn’t follow the regulations in the Public Health Standards that apply to the administering of these tests. Officers do have a specific set of rules they have to follow to administering these tests, including the 20-minute observation period at the station. If they don’t follow those specific rules, then you’ve got a good chance of getting the breath results thrown out.

When Are Blood Tests Typically Administered Over Breath Tests? Are Warrants Required?

No there aren’t any warrants required for a blood test. There are only three types of testing. The first one is the breathalyzer, the second is giving a urine sample, and the last one is a blood test. Under Illinois law, you have to submit to at least one, and possibly all three of those. If your breath test comes back negative, but the officer still thinks you may be under the influence, they can request a urine sample. If that test also comes back negative, the officer can ask you to submit a blood sample. This when you say that you have already cooperated, have provided two test samples, and refuse to give a blood sample. This will still count as a refusal. You have to be aware, you have to take any combination of the three tests that the officer asks. Failure to do so will constitute a refusal.

The administering of the urine test is simple. The officer will provide you with a cup, and you will give them a sample. For the blood test, the officer still has to follow the specific Department of Standards and Public Health protocols for taking blood. There are some very specific technical requirements they have to do for taking a blood test. They’re not supposed to use an alcohol swab, because if you’re wiping down with an alcohol swab, and then sticking a needle right through the alcohol, you could get a false reading.

They also must maintain a very specific chain of evidence with the blood results. The person who is drawing the blood—a phlebotomist, nurse, or doctor—must sign off on the vial. Then they have to maintain a strict chain of custody, just as in any court case where they’re trying to put some chemical or scientific evidence into custody. They have to show that the sample hasn’t been tampered with. That there is a seal that was unbroken when it reached the lab. When the lab technician broke the seal, he should reseal it and put his initials on it. There’s a tight chain of custody procedure to make sure that nobody has had a chance to mess with or switch a sample.

The case could come down to the point where they ask whether there’s a really probable cause to believe a blood test was necessary. That’s going to be a test a judge is going to wind up making, by looking at all the factors that were there. Why did the officer pulling my client over? Was the client pulled over for a five mile an hour speeding ticket in the middle of the daytime, and have dilated pupils, but otherwise be acting fine? This is no reason to take a blood test. There has to be some clear indicator to the police officer of being under the influence that the judge thinks is reasonable. This could include staggering, being generally incoherent, or not answering appropriate questions.

For more information on Potential Errors In Breath Tests, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (847) 244-4636 today.

Barry Boches, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free phone consultation (847) 244-4636.

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