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What you should know about Breathalyzer tests in South Carolina

Police officers in South Carolina often rely on a Breathalyzer, to calculate the blood alcohol content of a motorist arrested for drunk driving. These devices work by receiving a sample of the driver's breath and then delivering the subject's BAC level. These machines do provide the police with evidence to support an arrest for DUI, but they are not foolproof by any means.

The problem with Breathalyzers used to confirm a DUI is that several factors can skew the results. This means that a person could be convicted driving under the influence of alcohol based on a test that may or may not be accurate. In turn, it is possible to challenge a DUI arrest if the defendant and his or her attorney believe the Breathalyzer was not in proper working order.

Breathalyzers require ongoing maintenance and calibration to remain accurate. Calibration in particular is crucial to recording accurate results. Here are the basic guidelines associated with proper Breathalyzer calibration:

-- The analyzer must be included on the state's list of accepted devices

-- Calibration and maintenance of the device must occur at regular, previously-set intervals

-- The person performing the test must be certified in its use and must use the device in accordance with training

-- The Breathalyzer must record at least two readings that measure within .02 of one another

If you are suspicious about the breath test results, how do you find out if there was a problem? An attorney can do this for you with a subpoena addressing the Breathalyzer's calibration and maintenance records. If the records show that the device was not maintained or calibrated in accordance with the law, this evidence could be deemed inadmissible in South Carolina courts.

Source: FindLaw, "Breathalyzer Calibration," accessed March 11, 2016

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