Can You Challenge Breathalyzer Results in Pennsylvania?

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
July 15, 2021

Can You Challenge Breathalyzer Results in Pennsylvania?In most Pennsylvania drunk driving cases, the prosecution must prove that the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of their arrest was at or above the statutory limit of 0.08%. To establish this level of alcohol was in your system, the police need to show a suitable sample of your blood, urine, or hair at the time of the arrest. A breath test is the most popular scientific method for establishing that drunk driving has occurred, and breathalyzer test results are often a critical factor in many Pennsylvania drunk driving cases.

However, while it may seem counterintuitive to challenge these results as breathalyzer tests are based on scientific fact rather than intuition or perception—it’s certainly possible to counter your breathalyzer test results. For instance, you and your lawyer may be able to prove that the machine was unreadable or not correctly calibrated. Likewise, you may be able to show that the officer lacked breathalyzer training, the test was based on an illegal search, or that other elements in your bloodstream led to inaccurate results.

Pennsylvania’s Implied Consent Laws

It’s first important to note that Pennsylvania operates under implied consent laws, which means that when an individual obtains a driver’s license, they’re implicitly giving their consent to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test upon request when suspected of driving under the influence. Still, you have every right to refuse a breath or blood test, but doing so means penalties that may include $500 for a first refusal, $1,000 for a second refusal, and $2,000 each time thereafter. Further, refusing a breath or blood test will result in the loss of your driver’s license for an additional year on top of any other penalties imposed for your DUI, even if you’re not convicted.

Fortunately, if you did take and fail a breath test, you may challenge these outcomes. Your test results assume that everything is executed correctly, the machine is up-to-date, the officer is trained on giving the tests, and you have no other health problems that may affect the test. Because there are so many variables that can alter the test results, an experienced Pennsylvania DUI attorney can be instrumental in helping you challenge the results.

4 Common Ways to Challenge Your Breath Results in a Pennsylvania DUI Case

Now that we’ve established that it’s legal for you to challenge the result of your breath test, you may be wondering about the strategies your lawyer will choose to pursue when defending you. Here are a few of the most common:

  • You have a medical condition that skewed the results: Certain medical conditions, including gastro disorders such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), having a high-volume percentage of red blood cells, and having a high ketone level, can skew breathalyzer test results.
  • The breathalyzer wasn’t maintained or calibrated correctly: If the breathalyzer isn’t maintained to proper calibrations, the results won’t be accurate. It’s essential that your attorney review the maintenance records of the machine to determine any calibration issues.
  • The officer lacked breathalyzer training: Without the right training, an officer’s testimony about how a breathalyzer reading relates to your intoxication may be deemed unreliable.
  • Proper testing procedures were not followed: Even if an officer was adequately trained and the breathalyzer was appropriately calibrated, a reading can still be thrown out if the officer fails to follow the regulatory procedures for proper breath testing.

It’s important to note that every case is unique, and the type of defense strategy you use will depend on the variables at play during the incident. Get in touch with an experienced Montgomery County DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible for help today!

Contact a Knowledgeable DUI Defense Lawyer in Montgomery County

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence and think it may be strategic to challenge the results of your breathalyzer test, it’s imperative that you act fast and get in touch with a lawyer after your arrest. The Pennsylvania DUI defense attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford know how difficult this time can be for you, and we’re committed to fighting for your rights and defending your interests during the legal process. Our top-notch legal team understands the ins and outs of Montgomery County DUI defense law and may be able to help you challenge the results of your breathalyzer test. 

For more than 65 years, the lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford have served clients’ legal needs in Montgomery County, Bucks County, Lehigh County, Chester County, Delaware County, and throughout the surrounding areas. We’ve earned the trust of those facing a wide range of legal problems, including DUI defense law. Give us a call at (215) 822-7575 or complete our online contact form today.

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
Pennsylvania Attorney's
July 15, 2021
Established in 1952 by Irwin S. Rubin, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. boasts over 65 years of experience serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Renowned for its commitment to ethical representation, the firm has garnered prestigious accolades, including being named the "Best Law Firm" for its outstanding legal defense work by U.S. News & World Report. Their team of seasoned attorneys, recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, brings unparalleled expertise to a wide range of legal matters, ensuring exceptional representation for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.