When a person has been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, it is imperative to that driver’s rights that law enforcement ensure all evidence represents a fair and impartial investigation. There are many tools that South Carolina police may use to determine whether a driver may be impaired, including the various types of breath test machines. In a recent case, the results of one of these devices was questionable enough to be ruled inadmissible.
The judge’s decision to prevent the Breathalyzer’s results from being introduced by the prosecutor is a victory for the defense team that has questioned the veracity of the test from the beginning. The case concerns the arrest and subsequent charges filed against a prominent member of the local community. In 2011, the man is alleged to have driven his vehicle partially off the road and partially into a construction trench. Police did not successfully administer any test at the time of the man’s arrest.
According to the report, the police did obtain samples approximately one hour after the 66-year-old man’s arrest. At that time, the device used reportedly displayed a .23 and a .24 for blood alcohol levels. The man’s defense team has now successfully argued that the device was inaccurate and possibly artificially elevated the man’s actual levels. The defense also claimed that the machine was not in full compliance with the required specifications.
The judge in this case has agreed and ordered the breath test results to be barred from the trial — a decision that the prosecutor will likely appeal. Additionally, the video tape of the arrest has been erased by the South Carolina sheriff’s department. This man has successfully challenged some of the evidence the state was preparing to use against him and may continue to call into question any remaining testimony or evidence in order to clear his life of any charges.
Source: theoaklandpress.com, “Judge tosses breath test results in attorney’s drunken driving case“, Jameson Cook, Sept. 18, 2014