In the state of Minnesota, law enforcement officers focus on taking drunk drivers off the road. In fact, you may know firsthand how serious an effort this is.
If you are facing a drunk driving charge, all is not lost. Were there testing errors? What about an equipment malfunction? Your defense will begin with a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding your arrest.
The NHTSA and field sobriety tests
Field sobriety tests must follow National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration guidelines. The NHTSA instructions include the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. An example of an error law enforcement officers make is giving this test to a driver who has a physical disability or who is 50 pounds or more overweight. The officer should always follow the NHTSA rules to the letter, including asking the suspect if he or she understands the instructions given at various intervals.
Breathalyzer machine malfunction
An incident in Philadelphia shows how easy it is to nullify the results of a breathalyzer test. In 2016, a private attorney informed the Philadelphia, PA, police department that their breathalyzer machines were out of date, meaning that the annual calibration date had expired. Proper calibration requires fresh solution used to establish the accuracy of blood alcohol content readings. The machines were immediately taken offline. The calibration problem resolved with the introduction of new solution. However, the fact that the police department used out-of-date machines for testing meant that the issue would affect the outcome of hundreds of DUI case results from the first half of the year. Defense attorneys could argue that the test results were inaccurate and, therefore, not admissible in court.
Whether you are a first offender or have had previous DUI convictions, remember that an investigation may produce testing mistakes or even equipment malfunctions. If law enforcement arrests you on a drunk driving charge, do not hesitate to explore your legal options. You want the best possible outcome for your case.