Contact A Keegan Lawyer About Breath Tests and OUI in Massachusetts
Boston DUI Attorney
One of the key parts of any operating under the influence (OUI) or driving under the influence (DUI) case will be the results of a chemical test used to determine a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A breath test is the most commonly used way of measuring a driver’s BAC, though blood tests may also be used. As a driver, you may find it useful to understand how these tests work and how they can be challenged to seek a dismissal or acquittal of DUI charges in Massachusetts.
Representing clients in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth, we at Keegan Law are committed to offering experienced counsel to drivers who have been arrested for drunk driving. Our team includes former police officers, a former prosecutor and a DEA-trained narcotics investigator. With this experience on the “other side” of criminal charges, we are uniquely qualified to protect our clients’ interests and rights.
If you are interested in finding out how a Boston DUI lawyer at our firm can help you, please call (617) 472-1653 now for a confidential consultation.
About Breath Tests
According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of State Police, Office of Alcohol Testing, the Alcotest 950 is approved “for use in compelling evidentiary breath tests in the Commonwealth.” Manufactured by Draeger Safety Diagnostic’s, Inc., this breath testing instrument uses infrared and fuel cell technologies to analyze a subject’s breath sample for the presence of ethanol (ethyl alcohol). Using the measure of alcohol found in the subject’s breath, the device then calculates the subject’s blood alcohol concentration. The subject must blow into a tube to provide the breath sample, which must be of a certain volume for the device to read it.
When a driver takes a breath test and it shows a result of .08% or greater, he or she may be charged with OUI. A driver may also be charged with a lower breath test result, if the prosecuting attorney believes that the driver’s abilities were impaired by alcohol. A driver who blows a .05%, for example, may still be charged with OUI if the prosecution believes that his or her driving abilities were impaired by alcohol.
Refusing a breath test can have serious consequences, as Massachusetts drivers are subject to the “implied consent” law that requires drivers to submit to chemical testing if they are lawfully arrested for OUI. If a driver refuses a breath or blood test, he or she may face driver’s license suspension for 180 days to life.
Challenging BAC Results and DUI Charges in Boston, MA
To work properly, a breath testing device must be properly calibrated and maintained. If any issues arise with a device, it must be repaired. Breath tests must also be administered properly and in a timely manner. If a device is improperly calibrated or malfunctions in some way, or if the officer who administers the test makes a mistake, the results may be inaccurate. Some of the potential problems with breath tests – which may be brought up to challenge results – may include:
- The subject chewed gum, ate, drank, burped, vomited or smoked immediately before the test.
- The device was not calibrated properly.
- The device malfunctioned.
- The subject had recent dental work that contributed to the presence of alcohol in the mouth, not lungs.
- The subject had a gastroesophageal or other medical condition that interfered with the test results.
- The subject was physically unable to provide a sufficient breath sample.
The above are just a few examples of issues that may be considered when building a defense against OUI charges. Because every case and every test is different, it is important to talk to your lawyer about what occurred and how your unique test may be challenged.
Interested in learning more? Contact Keegan Law today.