If I Provided A Chemical Sample, Am I Automatically Guilty?
In a word, no. While the conviction rate in breath and blood test cases is much higher than the conviction rate in non-test cases, convictions in test cases are far from automatic. That’s mostly because the state must still prove the breath or blood test result was reliable. And, prosecutors must establish this point beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s one of the highest burdens of proof in the law.
When these cases go to court, an Indianapolis DUI & OWI defense attorney doesn’t have to completely undermine the test results. Instead, an attorney must only create a treasonable doubt about the test’s validity. This tactic is especially useful in borderline cases, like a .08 or .09 BAC level. A lack of evidence is one of the most effective strategies in criminal cases. A lack of evidence could lead to a not-guilty verdict at trial or even a complete pretrial dismissal of charges.
The modern Breathalyzer is a miniaturized version of the 1920s Drunk-o-Meter. Both these gadgets measure breath alcohol level and use that figure to estimate blood alcohol level, the legal standard in Indiana and all other states. Some specific Breathalyzer flaws include:
- Temperature Changes: The outside temperature changes very quickly in Indiana, especially during certain times of year. A ten-degree outside temperature change artificially raises the BAC estimate. Mild medical conditions, like a mild COVID case, drive up a subject’s body temperature. A one-degree internal temperature change has a similar effect on the Breathalyzer.
- Mouth Alcohol: If police officers don’t closely monitor subjects before they take breath tests. alcohol particles from the stomach may enter the mouth and skew the BAC estimate.
To drive home these and other flaws, an Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer often partners with a scientist, known as a toxicologist. These individuals have a lot more credibility with jurors than police-trained Breathalyzer technicians.
Scientifically, blood tests are much more accurate than breath tests. However, it’s still possible to challenge blood test reliability in court.
According to the Supreme Court, police officers must have search warrants based on probable cause affidavits before they may extract blood samples, unless you give them permission to take a sample. The question of probable cause differs widely from case to case.
Additionally, attorneys can request independent blood test analysis. An independent toxicologist may find different results from the ones a police technician claimed s/he found.
Contact a Dedicated Marion County Attorney
Criminal suspects have important rights when their cases go to court. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Indianapolis, contact Rigney Law LLC. Convenient payment plans are available.