Although a previous post on this blog discussed the numerous ways is which the Breathalyzer machine police use to officially check a Louisiana resident’s blood alcohol content can be wrong, many New Orleans residents and guests to this city may still be afraid to challenge a drunk driving charge that almost inevitably follows a failed breath test. Some people, and even some attorneys, may take on the attitude that the machine simply does not lie.
While machines do not lie the way people do, they certainly can be wrong, and our law office recognizes this. As a result, we do not take the results of a breath test or even a blood test for granted. Instead, we explore as part of our defense investigation whether the Breathalyzer machine could have been wrong and how likely it was that the machine’s inaccuracy led to an inappropriate DWI charge.
For example, one problem with Breathalyzer testing is that it is “non-specific.” This means that it picks up on certain chemical elements and compounds on a person’s breath, but it cannot tell where these compounds originated. In the case of a Breathalyzer, for example, a person may have acetone on his or her breath due to entirely natural causes. Our office thus explores our clients’ medical history in order to determine whether they would be capable of failing a breath test even if they have not been drinking.
On a similar note, the timing of the test is also important, and we know what questions or investigation needs to answer in this respect.
Finally, although we know how a Breathalyzer is supposed to work and what an officer needs to do to maintain and use the machine properly, our defense approach recognizes also that it is the prosecution’s job to prove the Breathalyzer was working correctly and not the defense’s job to show that there was a problem. We will hold the prosecution to its burden of proof.