About DUI Testing
Testing is an important aspect of any DUI case, whether it involves alleged alcohol or drug use. There is a specific battery of tests that law enforcement uses in an attempt to recover enough evidence against a driver for the prosecuting attorney to charge him or her with drunk driving. You can learn more about DUI testing and your legal rights and options in relation to these matters by reviewing the information on this website. We have highlighted several key topics related to drunk driving tests and evidence:
Blood Alcohol Testing
Blood alcohol testing is conducted to determine the level or amount of alcohol in a driver's system. This may be accomplished by taking a blood sample or breath sample. If the driver's blood alcohol level is found to be 0.08% or greater (or 0.04% or greater for a commercial driver) he or she will likely be charged with DUI.
Breath Test Refusals
Refusing a breath test after a DUI arrest is a violation that will result in driver's license suspension by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). In some cases, subsequent refusals can even result in criminal charges and penalties. If facing license suspension as the result of an alleged breath test refusal, a driver will have the opportunity to contest the suspension at a DMV hearing.
Challenging DUI Evidence
The key evidence in a DUI case is likely to be the outcome of a breath/blood test administered, the outcome of field sobriety tests and the arresting officer's testimony regarding these tests and other relevant factors, such as the driver's behavior and statements at the time of the arrest. Challenging this evidence is difficult but certainly possible – with the proper experience and resources.
When a driver is pulled over and arrested for suspected driving under the influence of drugs (including illegal drugs and prescription medication) he or she may be required to take a blood or urine test to determine the presence and amount of controlled substance in his or her system. Blood tests are typically administered in these situations, as they are more accurate than urine tests.
Field Sobriety Tests
A key part of DUI testing, which is performed before a driver is arrested, is field sobriety testing. This may consist of multiple tests conducted at the side of the road where the driver was pulled over. They are administered to determine whether the driver's coordination, balance and other abilities are impaired. Law enforcement officers typically use field sobriety tests to establish probable cause to make drunk driving arrests.
When a Florida driver signs to receive his or her driver's license, there is a clause pertaining to chemical testing in the event of a drunk driving arrest. In signing for the license, the driver essentially gives "implied consent" to a breath or blood test if lawfully arrested for DUI. As such, refusing a chemical test will mean that the driver will face license suspension and possibly other penalties.
Roadside Breath Testing
In some cases, a police officer may ask a driver to submit to a portable breath test at the side of the road after the driver has been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. In most cases, the driver has the right to politely refuse a roadside breath test without fear of license suspension under implied consent laws, as he or she has not yet been arrested. The exception may be a driver who is under the age of 21.
The DUI Breath Test
The breath test, or breathalyzer test, is one of the most commonly known tests associated with DUI across the U.S. This is administered by having a driver blow into a device that then determines the amount of alcohol in his or her breath and therefore the relative level in his or her blood. This gives a reading of the driver's blood alcohol concentration. Though they are commonly used in drunk driving cases throughout Florida, breath tests may have faults. It is up to your DUI defense lawyer to find and expose these.
Challenging Tests and Evidence
With an attorney from our firm by your side, you have the invaluable opportunity to contest blood alcohol testing, breath testing, field sobriety tests and even an alleged breath test refusal. We also deal with unlawful police stops, observations made by the arresting officer regarding a driver's behavior and statements that may indicate intoxication, the manner in which a driver was arrested and all other pertinent details. We leave no stone unturned in the careful investigation of all drunk driving tests and evidence. There are different ways to challenge DUI testing. Your lawyer may question:
- The manner in which a test was conducted;
- The officer's evaluation of performance on a test;
- The qualifications of the individual who conducted the test;
- The timing of DUI testing;
- The device or devices used to conduct the test (such as a breathalyzer device); and
- Any factors not related to alcohol or drug use that may have influenced the outcome of a test (such as a physical illness that interfered with a driver's ability to perform a field sobriety test).
We may conduct a complete investigation into every aspect of testing and may also conduct a thorough cross-examination of the arresting officer to bring mistakes, errors or violations of a driver's rights to light.