Challenging a Breath Test in DeKalb County

Breath tests are a common method the police use to determine whether someone is over the legal limit is a DUI case. The findings of this device could be used to charge someone with DUI, and also to suspend their driver’s license. While this may seem like a dire situation if you have been charged, you still have the opportunity to challenge the admissibility of a breath test in court.

For more information about challenging a breath test in DeKalb County, speak with an experienced attorney at Hawkins Spizman today.

How is a Breath Test Administered?

When a person is arrested for a DUI, they will be asked for consent to submit to a breath test. The test can either be administered at the jail or the police precinct.

The test sequence begins when the police officer enters the subject’s information into the device, including their date of birth, full name, and other identifying information. After the handcuffs are taken off the individual, they will then approach the machine and follow the officer’s instructions about blowing into the device. In between each test, the officer will place a new breath testing tube for the arresting individual to blow into, so it is necessary that individuals wait until instructed to blow into the device.

The machine then says that it is ready for the test to begin. At that point in time, it performs several diagnostics checks of it’s internal workings, features, functions, and then checks dry caliber or dry gas to make sure that it is running even at a 0.08 or close to it. It even checks the air to make sure there is no residual alcohol in the air that could impact the test. Once the machine is ready, the Defendant walks up and blows into the device, and it captures the breath sample.  Then, it will go through additional diagnostics and it will say that it is ready for another sample. An individual blows into it a second time, it must do more diagnostics, and gets confirmation.

What Does a Breathalyzer do?

The machine uses a specific type of technology, using light filters to detect particles in the breath that are consistent with ethanol or alcohol. The machine takes the sample and determines what is in it. In doing so, it then presents a result for the state to use during a potential trial.

At the end of the process, the machine will print out the results. The results show the breath volume, the graphing of how hard someone blew into the machine, and their breath alcohol concentration.

There are other things that could occur when an individual blows into the machine. There could be an error message, there could be interference, they could not provide enough breath volume. Any of these things can happen over the course of a normal breath test. If any of these things happen, then generally the police officers should either re-instruct the individual and try again or wait for a specific period and then do it again.

How to Challenge a Roadside Breath Test

A roadside breath test is different than the state-administered tests, which is important to clarify. The roadside breath test, or the portable breath test (PBT), is a test that is utilized to determine if someone should be arrested or not. That device on the side of the road has a tremendous number of problems in terms of accuracy and reliability, which is why it is only able to be used for purposes of preliminary screening. The number that they blow on the side of the road is not a number that a prosecutor can introduce into evidence.

An experienced DUI attorney in DeKalb County could use various arguments to challenge the findings of this device by claiming that there were residual amounts of alcohol that was detected, that the device was not calibrated, etc. These tests are much easier to challenge in comparison to the State breath test because they are notoriously inaccurate.

Call an Attorney Today

Considering the various errors that could go wrong, you will need a lawyer who has a basic understanding of the way these tests work and the limitations of breath testing. Our attorneys at Hawkins Spizman can do just that. Call today to learn more.


Hawkins Spizman

logo (770) 258-6888

Hawkins Spizman Dunwoody 200 ASHFORD CENTER N. SUITE #350 DUNWOODY GA 30338