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Are breath tests accurate in Charleston?

Many Charleston residents who score high on an alcohol breath test think that they have no choice other than to sit back while they are convicted of a DUI charge. However, that is simply not the case. Often a criminal defense attorney can argue that the results of the breath test were flawed, in which case a judge may then decide to suppress the test results or dismiss the charges altogether.

South Carolina police use a machine called the DataMaster to test the alcohol content of suspected drunk drivers. However, there are many things that are known to detract from the accuracy of these tests. A driver with gastric reflux, diabetes or asthma, or one who has had certain dental work or is on certain medication, will quite likely get skewed results on a DataMaster test. There are also environmental factors that can come into play.

Even when the evidence seems stacked against you, many people in South Carolina who have been arrested on DUI charges do have viable defense options.

In Washington D.C., Breathalyzers have actually been taken out of service because a city contractor learned about several problems with the machines. Many were not properly calibrated and thus came up with inaccurate results. The discovery resulted in the re-examining of hundreds of DUI cases.

Currently, in D.C. authorities are relying on field-sobriety tests and urine samples to make drunk driving arrests. Toxicologists in D.C. say however that urine tests are even less accurate than the Breathalyzer.

Washington D.C. is currently working on developing a new Breathalyzer program.

Source: MyFox DC, "DC Attorney General Says DC Having Trouble Prosecuting DWI Drivers," Paul Wagner, March 2, 2012

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