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All Press Releases for January 08, 2014 »
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New York DUI defense: Challenging the breath test

There are also the penalties people face socially and economically from DUI convictions.
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    January 08, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- New York is often called the city that never sleeps and regardless of the time of night, there is always some establishment open. As such, it is not uncommon for a law enforcement officer to ask a driver in the Bronx if he or she has been drinking when they are pulled over for a traffic offense. The officer even may ask the person to take a breath test and results of that test could end up with a first DWI charge.

The consequences of a DUI conviction

New York has passed several laws in the last few years according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. These laws include the requirement of ignition interlocks for anyone convicted of a first-time drunk driving offense, license revocation and the establishments of sobriety checkpoints. In addition, there are fines, jail sentences and license suspensions. The severity of these penalties is determined by the seriousness of the offense.

In addition to the legal consequences, there are also the penalties people face socially and economically. Some may lose their job, have to pay thousands in impound and court fees and live with public embarrassment. The breath test results can be the deciding factor in a court's decision of guilt but the test has been shown to not always be accurate.

Questioning the scientific belief of the test

The National Motorists Association claims that the breath test is not scientific by any method. Studies have shown that it is often inaccurate with an error margin of 50 percent and that the blood test is its superior in showing a person's true blood alcohol content.

Earlier this year in Pennsylvania, state breath test machines were placed under a ban according to WTAE. The ban was initiated after courts questioned the validity of the machines in a number of DUI cases. The Morning Call reported that there was some question over whether the machines had been correctly calibrated after the state changed its legal limit to 0.08.

Influencing factors

A calibrating error is not the only thing that can affect the results of a breath test according to the State University of New York. Other influencing factors include:
- Blood.
- Outside temperature and body temperature.
- Electronics such as police radios and cell phones.
- Vomit.
- Tobacco smoke
- Dirt

In addition, chemicals can also cause a false reading on a breath tester. In one experiment, a man worked with contact cement and paint and then was administered a breath test 20 minutes after his exposure. Even though the man had not consumed any alcohol, the breath test showed him with a BAC of 0.12.

With so many ways that a breath test can be influenced, it is important to make sure that it is, indeed accurate. When people are facing a DUI charge, they should immediately meet with an experienced attorney to discuss their options.

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