If you’re arrested for DUI in Washington State, you will likely be given two opportunities to take a breath test. The first one will be at the scene. That will be from a device, like this one, a portable breath test device. This particular test is voluntary; you don’t have to take it. The result of this test isn’t admissible at your trial. The main purpose of offering you this test is so that law enforcement can justify your arrest. As a general rule, you are probably best off declining taking the portable breath test. The other test that you will be offered will be offered to you either at the police station, jail, or in a DUI van. That is the evidentiary breath test, or legal breath test. That is typically offered to you on a machine, such as this one, that is approved by the State’s toxicologist for breath tests in the state of Washington.
Any test that you’re asked to give of your breath is voluntary. You don’t have to take a breath test. However, there are potential consequences that result from refusing to take a breath test from this machine. If you’re convicted of a DUI, you going to have increased jail time, increased fines and whether or not you are convicted you may also suffer an increased license revocation. The general rule is you are probably best to take the breath test, and not to refuse the breath test on this Data Master machine.
We can take the results of the breath test from this machine and challenge in court. There are a number of things that we have learned that can affect the breath test result. That can actually cause this machine to give a higher reading than your actual blood alcohol level. For example, there are physiological conditions such as diabetes, acid reflux disease, and even certain dental work that you may have or a dental adhesive that you may use in your mouth, that can artificial inflate the breath test results. The other thing that we look at is whether you have recent or prolonged exposure to certain chemicals.
There are some chemicals that have a molecular structure that is very similar to alcohol, such as simple rubbing alcohol. If you work with these chemicals and are exposed to them, they absorb through your skin into your body and also you can breathe in the vapors and they can enter into your body that way. No one really knows how long these chemicals remain in your body, but you eliminate them as you do alcohol, through your breath. When you take the breath test on a breath test machine and you have these chemicals in your body, the machine may not be able to tell the difference between alcohol and these chemicals when giving your breath test result.
The other thing that we do to challenge the breath test is we take a look at all of the maintenance records for the machine that you blew into. We look at whether or not the machine was properly calibrated or if it was calibrated in a timely manner. Also whether the simulator solution has been changed according to the proper schedule, we take a look at this on every case. Whether you’ve took the test or whether you refused it, we here at Callahan Law will bring all of our experience, all of our specialized knowledge and skill to defending your DUI.
Please watch the following video clips presented by lawyer Linda Callahan: