If you have recently been drinking and believe you may fail a breathalyzer test for DUI or DWI, you're in a terrible situation. It's very important to know your rights as DUI convictions are highly costly.
Attacking the alcohol test of breathalyzer results can result in the test being thrown out, which hamstrings the prosecutor's ability to prove the client was intoxicated. Here are three key things to examine on a breathalyzer test:
1. Two Hour Rule
By law in Maryland, an officer has two hours to perform a breathalyzer after apprehension. If this test is performed outside this time window, it is inadmissable in court.
Cts & Jud. Proc. Art. § 10-303
2. 20 Minute Observation
COMAR § 10.35.02.08 states that an individual must be observed for 20 minutes prior to blowing into the breathalyzer. This period of time is specified to ensure the machine's reading is based only on the concentration of alcohol in the air from the lungs, rather than actual alcohol in the mouth.
On the example in the infographic, the time of arrest and the time of the observation are the same. That means that the officer did not wait the mandatory 20 minutes.
3. Machine Standard
Breathalyzer technicians must perform the test in a very specific manner. On the example in the infographic, there are a number of abbreviations: DIAG - Diagnostic Check, should return with "PASS"; BLK - Air Blank, should return with ".000"; STD - Standard Mixture, indicates machine is reading properly and the ".082" is the 10% range allowed by COMAR; SUBJ - Person taking the test.
There are two SUBJ readings taken to determine the person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The lower of the two readings, on the example in the infographic, ".188" is rounded down to ".18" and offered as the final result.
Being informed of your rights to avoid penalties is crucial in any case, but particularly when you have received an alcohol concentration test. If you need further help in a DUI or DWI case in Maryland, please contact us today!