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Implied consent doesn't mean you can't challenge a breath test

When you obtained a Massachusetts driver's license, you consented to submit to a breath test if requested by a member of law enforcement. If you refuse, you could face consequences, such as a suspended driver's license. Whether you decide to submit to the test is a personal decision, but you should know that you have options.

The implied consent law doesn't preclude you from challenging the results of the breath test if it showed that you were intoxicated. You likely know how impactful breath test results can be. What you may not know is that breath-testing machines don't always provide accurate results.

What can go wrong with a breath test?

The results of breath tests can end up as evidence of intoxication in court, but generally only if the police department can prove that the machine's results were accurate. This is where a legal challenge could come into the picture. The following problems can arise with a breath testing machine:

  • You may have burped, vomited, ate or smoked just before the testing was done.
  • The officer may not have received certification to use the device.
  • The officer may not have used the device properly.
  • The officer may not have administered more than one test, which is required in order for the results to be reliable.
  • The officer may not keep the machine properly calibrated.
  • The department may not properly maintain the device.
  • The device may not be on the approved list of acceptable devices.

If one or more of these circumstances exist, this could compromise the results of the test.

What this could mean for your case

A DUI conviction could have lasting ramifications for your life beyond the possibility of the potential criminal consequences. If you can cast doubt on the reliability of the breath test results, it might help with fighting the charges against you. The prosecution may then have to rely on other evidence, such as field sobriety tests, or other actions on your part to cast suspicion that you drove drunk, which might leave them with an overall weaker case. 

Therefore, it may be a good idea to seek the help of an experienced attorney who can review all of the evidence prosecutors intend to present to the court, explain your rights and help determine your options for finding the best possible resolution to the case.

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