Can You Challenge Breath Tests And Field Sobriety Tests?

The police can and do make mistakes. And a procedural mistake may be enough to overcome a drunk driving charge or obtain a negotiated plea to a lesser charge. I know, because I have used police officers' mistakes to obtain good outcomes for my clients in a number of cases in Montgomery and Bucks counties.

I am Theodore H. Swan Jr., an Abington-based criminal defense attorney with more than four decades of experience defending people accused of drunk driving and other crimes. I know how to examine evidence and look for irregularities. As your lawyer, if any of the evidence against you was obtained unlawfully or is suspect, I will work to have it excluded so it cannot be used against you. This type of technique often leads to positive results, including dismissals.

Breath Tests And Field Sobriety Tests Are Not Fool Proof — I Challenge Them

When defending a client against DUI charges, I carefully examine all aspects of the arrest and subsequent events to see if law enforcement made errors. Common mistakes made by police officers include:

  • Lack of probable cause — the police cannot stop you on a whim. They must have what is known as probable cause to stop you and continue the investigation.
  • Field sobriety tests — a police officer who suspects someone of drunk driving will usually conduct a series of field sobriety tests, including a pre-breath test or PBT. I review the procedures used in every field sobriety test, using police videos when those exist. If the officer made an error in a test, this may be enough to get a dismissal or an acceptable negotiated plea.
  • Breathalyzer test — blood alcohol tests are usually conducted at a police station. Common mistakes made include improper calibration or poor maintenance of the Breathalyzer machine, improper operation and others. These machines only approximate the blood alcohol level, so there is always a degree of tolerance that can be of use in the defense effort. There may even be biological reasons why you blew a certain blood alcohol level.

Contact An Attorney Who Knows How To Hold The Police Accountable

Do not assume you are guilty just because you failed one of these tests. For a free consultation, call Theodore H. Swan, Jr., Attorney at Law, in Abington, Pennsylvania, at 267-415-6130 or send an email, to learn about your possible defenses.