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Breathalyzer Test | Chicago DUI Lawyer

The Breathalyzer is a machine designed to measure your blood alcohol concentration by analyzing a sample of your breath. Law enforcement officers use Breathalyzer testing as a regular means of obtaining evidence of intoxication to be used against you in your DUI case.But many experts agree that breath testing is an inaccurate means of measuring your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). One study concluded that as much as 25% of all test subjects receive an inaccurate, elevated BAC reading when they blow into a Breathalyzer device. Improper use and calibration, inadequate training on the device, and normal wear and tear can negatively impact the accuracy of the Breathalyzer testing machine.
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Breathalyzer Test

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Chicago Breathalyzer Test Attorney: Illinois DUI Breathalyzer Defense Lawyer

Contact Experienced Chicago Breathalyzer Test Attorney Michael P. Schmiege Today for an Aggressive and Effective Defense against Breathalyzer Testing Results

When you get a DUI conviction, you face a suspended driver's license, possible prison time and heavy fines, lost career prospects, and a criminal record. Successful challenges to DUI charges, especially when you've failed a Breathalyzer test, require experience, in-depth knowledge, and complex arguments. You can't do it alone. For a FREE, private legal consultation to answer your urgent questions about your DUI charge, contact experienced Illinois DUI Breathalyzer Defense Lawyer Michael P. Schmiege today.

Chicago Breathalyzer Test Attorney with Answers on Breathalyzer Basics

The Breathalyzer is a machine designed to measure your blood alcohol concentration by analyzing a sample of your breath. Law enforcement officers use Breathalyzer testing as a regular means of obtaining evidence of intoxication to be used against you in your DUI case.

But many experts agree that breath testing is an inaccurate means of measuring your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). One study concluded that as much as 25% of all test subjects receive an inaccurate, elevated BAC reading when they blow into a Breathalyzer device. Improper use and calibration, inadequate training on the device, and normal wear and tear can negatively impact the accuracy of the Breathalyzer testing machine.

But you can count on prosecutors to try to get the Breathalyzer evidence against you admitted in court. They will use your test results as strong evidence against you at your trial. The jury likely won't know about just how inaccurate those Breathalyzer test results could be unless your Chicago Breathalyzer Test Attorney brings it to their attention.

Illinois DUI Breathalyzer Defense Lawyer on the Timing of a Breathalyzer Test

You might actually experience two types of breath test. Out in the field, law enforcement officers use the Portable Breath Test (PBT), which we discuss below. But PBT results aren't admissible against you in Illinois court. But they can be used as "probable cause" to arrest you for DUI.

It's the Breathalyzer test, administered at the police station usually, that you need to be concerned about. Only after the officer has arrested you for DUI can he demand under Illinois law that you take the Breathalyzer test. The officer must read you warnings giving you notice of the consequences of failing the test and of refusing to take the test.

Officers are also required to observe you for 20 minutes prior to administering the Breathalyzer test. If the officer failed to follow the 20-minute waiting period, then your Illinois DUI Breathalyzer Defense Lawyer can challenge your test.

Chicago Breathalyzer Test Attorney on Illinois Law and "Per Se" Guilt of DUI Charges

Illinois law at 625 ILCS 5/1-501 (a)(1) provides that a driver with a BAC level of 0.08% or higher is "per se" guilty of drunk driving. This means that the prosecutor doesn't need to prove that you were driving "under the influence" on alcohol. He or she only needs to prove that you had a BAC level of 0.08% or higher.

So a properly given Breathalyzer test with test results of 0.08% or higher gives the prosecutor powerful evidence to use against you. Without this Breathalyzer test result, the prosecutor must resort to the more challenging task of proving that you were driving "under the influence" of alcohol. Without test results, the prosecutor will have to rely on the weaker evidence of officers' subjective observations and your Illinois DUI Breathalyzer Defense Lawyer has a better chance of overturning the prosecution case.

What Happens when Your Breathalyzer Test Results are less than 0.08%?

A Breathalyzer test result showing a BAC less than 0.08% will generally not result in a DUI charge. But an officer convinced that you were driving impaired may charge you with driving "under the influence" of alcohol. And 625 ILCS 5/11-501 (2)(c) allows evidence of your refusal to take a Breathalyzer test to be admitted against you in court. And refusal to take the test leads to automatic suspension of your driver's license. 

What are the Differences between the Portable Breath Test and the Breathalyzer Test?

  • The Portable Breath Test (PBT) is a small, handheld device used by officers in the field. PBT results are not admissible against you in court. By contrast, Breathalyzer tests results are admissible against you. The Breathalyzer test machine is larger and generally housed in the police station. The Breathalyzer test is administered at the police station after your arrest. The PBT is administered before your arrest.
     
  • Illinois DUI Breathalyzer Defense Lawyers know there is no penalty for refusing to take the PBT test. But refusing to take the Breathalyzer test results in summary statutory suspension (SSS) of your driver's license.
     
  • Illinois law provides that a defendant may use his PBT result in court to prove his innocence. But the prosecution can't use his PBT result to try and prove his guilt. The prosecution can, however, use Breathalyzer test results to try and prove the defendant's guilt on a DUI charge.

Illinois DUI Breathalyzer Defense Lawyer on Inaccuracies in Breath Test Results

Breath test results are subject to many variables and inaccuracies. Atmospheric pressure, temperatures, the chemical composition of your individual blood, your medical condition, your physical activity, and hyperventilation are among the factors that can impact your test results and cause them to be misleading or inaccurate. Recent exposure to gasoline fumes, paint, lacquer, dry cleaning fluids, and other substances containing alcohol can also cause your test results to be inaccurate.

Your Chicago Breathalyzer Test Attorney could also challenge your breath test results based on how the test was administered:

  • Did the person administering the test have the proper experience and skill to give the test?
  • What was the condition and quality of the breath-testing device?
     
  • Was the breath-testing device on the federal and state lists of approved devices?

Knowledgeable, experienced Illinois DUI Breathalyzer Defense Lawyer Michael P. Schmiege could attack your breath test result based on several problems:

  • If there was a failure to record certification tests and to include the value of the simulator solution used to test Breathalyzer machines, your breath test results will be inadmissible in court.
     
  • If the breath test machine was not operated properly, this might make your test results inaccurate.
     
  • If the officer didn't have "probable cause" to arrest you for DUI or administer your Breathalyzer test, your Chicago Breathalyzer Test Attorney has the basis for a strong challenge to your test results and DUI arrest.
     
  • Illinois requires that a breath test operator have a valid, unexpired operator's license. If the operator has no license or the license is expired, the test result is inadmissible against you in court. So your Illinois DUI Breathalyzer Defense Lawyer should always check the status of the test operator's license.
     
  • If the Breathalyzer machine malfunctions or requires repair within 62 days prior to or after your breath test, your test results are presumed invalid.
     
  • If the breath test machine is not on the Federal List of Approved Breath evidential Instruments and Illinois list of approved devices, your test results are inadmissible against you and your Chicago Breathalyzer Test Attorney should challenge any attempt by the prosecution to sue them against you. 
     
  • Your use of substances that contain forms of alcohol (such as nail polish, paints, lacquers, asthma inhalant, and cough drops) could interfere with the test and make your results inaccurate.
     
  • Prosecutors cannot use your statements against you if the arresting officer failed to issue you Miranda warnings.
     
  • If the arresting officer has a prior disciplinary record, your Chicago Breathalyzer Test Attorney could use that record to attack his or her credibility.
     
  • PBT (Portable Breath Test) results from the roadside test you might have received are inadmissible as evidence of DUI.
     
  • If the officer failed to conduct the 20-minute observation period required by Illinois law prior to administering your breath test, the results will not be considered valid and admissible.

The basic fact is that, whatever arresting officers and prosecutors might like everyone to believe, Illinois DUI Breathalyzer Defense Lawyers realize that breath testing is inaccurate. Interfering substances and improper testing procedures can lead to misleading breath test results. And almost all experts on the subject concede that a single breath test is unreliable. More than one is required on each suspect to establish validity of the results. Illinois breath tests have several problems including non-specificity for ethanol and a 12.5% variance rate.

So don't accept DUI conviction as an inevitable result of "failing" Breathalyzer test results. Get the aggressive legal help you need to challenge your Breathalyzer test. Contact Chicago Breathalyzer Test Attorney Michael P. Schmiege today for a free legal consultation. (312) 906-7800

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