CHALLENGING BREATH AND BLOOD TESTS IN YOUR DUI CASE

Under Illinois law, if your blood alcohol content (BAC) measures 0.08 or greater, you are deemed legally intoxicated and unable to safely operate a motor vehicle. That is all the proof required to convict you of DUI. Likewise, a trace amount of drugs in a sample of your blood is admissible evidence of driving while impaired. What you must understand is that an over-the-limit breathalyzer test or a positive tox screen is not the final word. Our experienced DUI defense lawyers may be able to challenge the scientific basis for your arrest or the grounds for taking your breath or blood sample in the first place.

The law firm of Martin & Kent, L.L.C., has won dismissals and acquittals in DUI cases in DuPage County, Kane County, and Cook County by skillfully and aggressively attacking the prosecution’s physical evidence. Call us immediately to protect your rights. Our professional analysis of the facts of your DUI case could have a profound impact on the outcome.

BAC BREATH TESTING AND BLOOD SAMPLES

The implied consent statute requires drivers to submit to chemical testing. Refusing the test or failing to complete the test is punishable by automatic license suspension of at least 12 months. Failing the test can result in a criminal charge of per se DUI plus suspension of at least six months.

Many people may think that testing over the legal limit means an automatic conviction for DUI. However, there are many defenses within these scenarios:

  • Did the officer have reasonable grounds to pull you over?
  • Were you arrested at a sobriety checkpoint?
  • Was a portable breath test the main basis for arrest?
  • Were field sobriety tests a basis for arrest? Which ones?
  • Were you properly advised of your implied consent rights and ramifications?
  • Did you, in fact, refuse to submit to testing?
  • Were you denied a request to speak with a lawyer?
  • Was the Breathalyzer machine properly calibrated and administered?
  • Was your blood sample properly drawn and secured?

Attorneys Tim Martin and Scott Kent are former prosecutors with more than 40 years of combined experience in criminal law. They have literally handled more 10,000 criminal cases, including DUI success stories involving the defenses above.

Under Illinois statute, drivers may obtain additional testing at their own expense. These results are permissible in court to refute the state’s BAC or toxicology findings. In certain circumstances, we may arrange for independent testing to contradict the prosecution’s evidence.

MISTAKES IN DUI CHEMICAL TESTING

Part of our job as DUI defense lawyers is to closely examine all actions of police officers and their support teams to ensure no mistakes occurred. Any mistake can call the evidence against you into question and help your defense. Chemical testing commonly requires the help of a forensic lab, which can make mistakes that skew the results of your tests.

First, lab technicians usually have the task of calibrating and maintaining breathalyzer equipment. These devices require maintenance to give accurate results, and if equipment is miscalibrated or in need of service, the BAC results will not be reliable. Lab technicians also read and record the results of breath tests and can make numerous mistakes during this process, such as excessive delay or misrecording readings.

Blood tests at the police station present the liklihood of even more mistakes. Labs are in charge of processing blood samples and providing accurate results. However, technicians are only human and regularly make errors during this process. Some common lab mistakes include:

  • Allowing untrained or unqualified people to handle or test a blood sample
  • Storing the blood sample in an unsterile place, which can cause contamination
  • Storing the blood sample at the wrong temperature
  • Not using necessary anticoagulants with the blood sample
  • Allowing a delay before testing, which can cause fermentation of alcohol in the blood sample, increasing the BAC reading
  • Labeling the sample incorrectly, which can cause technicians to record the wrong results in your file
  • Not using properly calibrated testing equipment
  • Making errors when reporting test results

Identifying when a forensic lab made an error can be challenging, however, these errors happen more often than you may think. Just like officers should be held accountable for unlawful arrests or searches, labs should be held to the necessary standard of care to prevent wrongful convictions based on false test results.

Physical evidence including breath or blood test results can be highly persuasive to a jury. While a prosecutor may have technicians testify to scientific evidence of your BAC, we can also present our own experts as witnesses to prove any possible lab errors. This hopefully causes a jury to question the reliability of the prosecutor’s evidence the cast reasonable doubt on your guilt. This can prevent the following consequences that may accompany an Illinois DUI conviction:

  • One year in jail
  • $2,500 fine
  • Suspension of your driver’s license
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle

The penalties for DUI convictions can increase if you have prior convictions, if you had a minor in the car, if you had a particularly high BAC, or if you caused injuries or death in an accident. We seek to avoid any convictions whenever we can and explore every possible option to help with your defense.

WE LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED IN YOUR DEFENSE

With the possibility of jail, fines and loss of license, plus the long-term collateral effects of a DUI conviction, there is too much at stake to let DUI breath and blood tests go unchallenged. Never think your case is a lost cause simply because a chemical test showed you were over the legal limit.

Contact Martin & Kent, L.L.C., without delay at (630) 474-8000 for a free initial consultation with a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who has the proven ability to beat DUI charges or minimize the penalties. You can reach us 24/7, and we have offices in Wheaton in DuPage County.