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Why it’s so hard to dispute a breath test in Colorado

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2021 | Dui/dwai |

Under a ruling made by the Colorado Court of Appeals on July 23, 2020, Colorado drivers do not have the right to challenge the results that come out of an officially certified Breathalyzer. Each time a breath testing machine is used to measure a person’s blood alcohol content, it issues an official certificate of functionality.

The Intoxilyzer 9000, among the more popular machines for law enforcement use, provides its serial number with the readout of the individual’s BAC. Importantly, it also provides a certifying document to verify the fact that the machine was fully functional at that time.

It’s no longer a new science

In years past, investigations have shown that BAC tests had been thrown out by courts by the tens of thousands in DUI cases. In the earlier days of breath tests being used in the field, machine problems could be caused by any number of reasons: poor calibration, stale chemicals or even rodents making a nest within the device in one notable instance.

Now, however, these tests are more reliable. As one judge put it in a Colorado case involving an intoxicated driver, breath tests are not a new or novel science. For that reason, there needs to be a real cause to dispute the results for it to have any bearing on your case. On the other hand, there are many who view this new ruling as a way of jamming breath tests into quick and easy evidence by way of some serious justification.

Legal dispute

The Colorado case that sparked this dramatic precedent involved an officer who pulled a person over for a dead tail light, and the officer reported that the person smelled and looked like they’d been drinking. The person consented to a breath test on an Intoxilyzer 9000, blew a reading of 0.063, and was charged with driving while ability impaired. The defendant disputed the accuracy of the machine but wasn’t successful.

Being pulled over and going through a breath test can be a stressful and scary experience. It’s important to know what your rights are before you blow so that you’re aware of what to prepare for in the legal aftermath.