Yes, you should contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI defense lawyer even if you failed a breathalyzer test in Florida. The result of a breathalyzer test is important evidence in your drunk driving case. If the breathalyzer produces inaccurate results, you could be wrongfully convicted of a crime and have to deal with the legal penalties of a conviction.
Three Ways Breathalyzers Can Be Wrong
You might think that the Intoxilyzer 8000, commonly used by Florida law enforcement officials, is an accurate breathalyzer test. However, there are several ways that this type of breathalyzer can produce false positive results. Common breathalyzer errors include:
- Police officer error. Law enforcement officials must be trained to use the Intoxilyzer 8000. They may make a mistake that produces false positive results if they do not have sufficient training or if their training has lapsed.
- Chemical interference. Some substances like mouthwash, cough syrup, and acetone can contribute to positive results. For example, if you used mouthwash or took cough medicine and had a drink, your blood alcohol content (BAC) may exceed the legal limit of 0.08% on a breathalyzer test. However, the drink alone did not result in a BAC reading above 0.08%. The Intoxilyzer 8000 indicates the existence of alcohol but cannot distinguish whether it came from wine, beer, liquor, mouthwash, or medication.
- Software problems. Software issues can produce false positive results that present unfair and inaccurate evidence of drunk driving.
You may not be aware of a breathalyzer administration error or software problem when the test is given to you, and the police officer may not care that you recently used mouthwash or cough syrup. Yet, it just takes one of these errors for you to “fail” a breathalyzer test and find yourself defending yourself against criminal drunk driving charges.
DUI Penalties If the Inaccurate Breathalyzer Evidence Stands
If the court believes the evidence against you, you could face significant penalties that could impact you for a long time. For example, you could face fines, loss of driving privileges, jail time, and other penalties for a(n):
- First DUI. Your first DUI conviction could result in a fine of up to $2,000, a driver’s license suspension, community service, probation, an increase in car insurance, and other consequences.
- Second DUI. After a second or subsequent drunk driving conviction, you could face increased fines, longer driver’s license suspensions, jail time, probation, and other consequences.
- Enhanced DUI. If you had a minor in the car or you caused an accident, and the breathalyzer provided positive results, you could be charged with an enhanced DUI. The penalties include fines, increased jail time, the possibility of your driver’s license being revoked, and other significant consequences that could impact your future.
Additionally, you face the consequences of a permanent criminal record that may need to be disclosed when you apply for a job, seek housing, or enroll in school.
These penalties will only be imposed if you are convicted or accept a plea. If you believe the charges against you are based on faulty evidence, we encourage you to talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
How a DUI Defense Lawyer Can Help You
By contacting a skilled DUI defense lawyer, you give yourself the best chance at building a solid defense. An experienced attorney will know the right questions to ask you and what evidence to seek from the police and breathalyzer manufacturer. They can analyze the details of your case, challenge the accuracy of the breathalyzer results, and present compelling arguments in your defense.
Remember, being charged with a DUI does not automatically mean you are guilty. By consulting with a DUI defense lawyer, you can protect your rights, challenge the breathalyzer evidence, and explore all possible defenses to achieve the best outcome in your case.