TACDL
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Tennessee Bar Association
National College of DUI Defense
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Can Breath Tests be Challenged in Tennessee?

February 4, 2014

If you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI) in Tennessee, you are likely feeling helpless and confused. You may feel as if your rights are being taken away from you. However, it is important to remember that you do have rights and that you can fight the charges in court. You do not have to accept a plea deal or even agree with the results of your breath test.

Police officers often administer breath tests to determine whether or not a driver is under the influence. When the test shows that the driver has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or above, he or she will likely be arrested and charged with a DUI. While these tests are useful for officers, they are not always accurate.

Drivers, attorneys, and judges alike have recently called the accuracy of breath tests in Tennessee into question. There have even been cases in which drivers were able to have their charges dismissed because the Breathalyzer was not calibrated correctly and the test results were inaccurate. There are just too many variables involved for the breath test to successfully determine accurate BAC every time.

There are a number of reasons why a breath test may be inaccurate. For example, some machines are unable to distinguish between ethyl alcohol and other similar chemicals. Painters who work with oil-based paint and contact cement may fail a breath test even when sober. Other variables that may interfere with a breath test affecting its results include moisture, cell phones, police radios, tobacco smoke, body temperature, and dirt. Even the health of the driver can result in a false BAC reading.

The consequences of a DUI conviction in Tennessee are too severe for you to consider accepting the charges without reviewing all of your legal options. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to have evidence dismissed and charges dropped. You may even have an opportunity to negotiate for reduced charges. Please contact an experienced Knoxville DUI defense lawyer to get more information on how to build a solid defense strategy.