The arresting officer misused a breathalyzer
A breathalyzer is a tool that measures blood alcohol levels through a simple breathing device. All breathalyzer machines must be calibrated yearly, tests must be conducted in a certain fashion and operators must be certified. Further, if a breathalyzer gives an inconsistent result (two readings for the same individual that are more than .020 % apart) it must be taken out of service and re-calibrated. Finally, a log must be kept for each machine recording all results. Even though law enforcement has been using the tool for decades, it does not mean that they have been using it properly or that they do not have faulty readings.
The arresting officer did not follow legal procedures
Law enforcement must follow strict and straightforward procedures after they arrest an individual for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any departure from these procedures could result in the judge throwing the case out. You may be surprised to learn this, but Iowa law enforcement must give public notice if they plan to set up an OWI checkpoint. Even when police do advertise the checkpoint, they must have probable cause to submit a person to a field test. Failure to do any of that could force the judge to dismiss the charges.
The arresting officer used a non-standard field sobriety test
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, one of an approved set of tests, for use nationwide in determining a suspected driver’s level of inebriation. According to law enforcement, each of these tests has objective, measurable factors that an officer uses to determine intoxication. Aside from the reliability, or lack thereof, of this test, if the judge determines that the officer strayed from these measurable factors when evaluating inebriation, he or she may dismiss the case.
The tests are inaccurate or unreliable
Some of these tests may prove difficult for the average sober person to complete cleanly. Therefore, the driver’s failure to complete the test does not necessarily mean that they were inebriated beyond the legal limit.
Judges are inclined to trust those in law enforcement, which is why you need a skilled Des Moines criminal defense lawyer who will combat misinformation while protecting your rights.
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Herting Law, PLLC, is an Iowa-based law firm designed to help with all of your legal needs. Contact Herting Law, PLLC today for help.