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Can I dispute a roadside breathalyzer’s test results?


Individuals arrested and charged with driving under the influence or driving while impaired may dispute a roadside breathalyzer test result during his or her court proceedings. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test, however, may result in serious penalties such as a fine and a license suspension.

Under New York State’s implied consent law, your application for a driver’s license confirms your agreement to submit to a roadside breathalyzer test when requested. If a law enforcement official pulls your vehicle over and has reason to believe there is evidence of impairment, he or she may then request that you take the test.

According to an investigation conducted by the New York Times, several models of roadside breathalyzer testing devices may produce skewed and inaccurate results. An improperly calibrated device, for example, may display that a motorist’s blood alcohol content level is greater than 40% of its actual level.

Showing a BAC of .08% or more during a roadside test generally results in an immediate arrest and the officer can impound the vehicle. An individual may then face a DUI charge, which requires a legal defense to counter the allegations and maintain driving privileges.

Disputing a breathalyzer test based on the device having provided an inaccurate or skewed BAC result may require proving that there was no impairment at the time of your arrest. The arresting officer may describe having observed visible signs of impairment, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes or an odor of alcohol. If you are able to prove, however, that you were not actually impaired while driving your vehicle, a prosecutor may not have enough evidence to convict you of the charge.