If You Believe The Breathalyzer Used In Your Testing Was Faulty, Call Wyland Law Group Today
The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently examined how breathalyzer tests are administered in DUI cases. Here in Pennsylvania, the breathalyzer test is often the be-all and end-all of DUI testing. Most Pennsylvanians who are convicted of DUI receive their conviction because of their breathalyzer test results.
Because Pennsylvania has a tiered system for DUI penalties, the results of breathalyzer tests also affect sentencing in the state. The breathalyzer test itself came under scrutiny as the result of a recent DUI case.
The Facts Behind The Case
The case in question involved a Pennsylvania woman who was arrested under suspicion of DUI. Upon her arrest, the defendant was administered a breathalyzer test, as is protocol in Pennsylvania. The test result – a BAC of 0.225 – was enough to warrant the highest level charge.
So far, nothing in this case differs from the normal DUI arrest procedure in Pennsylvania. The issue, however, is that the breathalyzer used was shown to produce inconsistent results in an unrelated case. This unrelated case took place five months prior to the case in question. At that time, the breathalyzer was removed from service, recalibrated, retested, then put back into service. Importantly, no repairs were made to the device.
Because no repairs had been made to the device, even after it had been shown to produce inconsistent results, the defendant filed a motion to suppress the results of the breathalyzer test as evidence (it is important to note that DUI cases in Pennsylvania are often dismissed as the result of evidence being suppressed.
An experienced DUI attorney at the Wyland Law Group can help you file a motion to suppress evidence that should not be admitted in your trial). In this case, the motion was denied and the defendant was charged with DUI.
The Defendant’s Appeal
After being charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania, the defendant filed an appeal. The defendant appealed the case on the grounds that the breathalyzer should have been repaired and service, rather than simply recalibrated and retested. The defendant alleged that the results of her breathalyzer test, therefore, should not have been admitted as evidence in her trial.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court disagreed, finding that the police followed proper procedure by calibrating and testing the device before putting it back into service. According to the court, services and repairs would only have been necessary if the device was shown to be malfunctioning after the test.
The court stated that there was no evidence that the device had malfunctioned during testing, or at any point after it had been put back into service. The results of the breathalyzer test, therefore, were admissible as evidence and sufficient to lead to a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania.
Takeaways From The Case
As with most DUI cases that make their way to the Superior Court in Pennsylvania, this case has far-reaching implications. Here at the Wyland Law Group, we like to make sure that our clients and readers are fully aware of the implications of DUI rulings. That is why we would like to highlight a few important takeaways from this particular case. Specifically, this case underscores the importance of:
The Breathalyzer Test
Motions To Suppress
The Appeals Process
Having A Good Attorney
These are just a few of the biggest implications that this case has for Pennsylvania drivers.
The Importance Of The Breathalyzer Test
To us, one of the biggest takeaways in this case is the importance of the breathalyzer test in establishing guilt in a DUI trial in Pennsylvania. The court’s primary piece of evidence was the defendant’s BAC as determined by the breathalyzer test. Keep in mind that Pennsylvania is what is known as an “implied consent” state. This means that if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you will be charged with the highest level DUI. In other words, the court will assume that your BAC was in the 3d tier (0.16% and above). This, of course, is devastating to Pennsylvania drivers who assumed that the breathalyzer test was optional.
The Importance Of Motions To Suppress
This case also illustrates how important motions to suppress are in Pennsylvania. While, in this case, the motion was denied, these motions are often successful—more often than most Pennsylvanians assume. This is because faulty or inadmissible evidence is often presented to the court: police reports get filled out incorrectly, proper arrest procedures are ignored, and (yes) breathalyzer tests do malfunction. DUI cases in Pennsylvania are often thrown out as a result of such evidence being suppressed. If you are involved in a Pennsylvania DUI case and you believe that the evidence submitted against you is inadmissible, contact the Wyland Law Group right away.
The Importance Of The Appeals Process
To us, another important takeaway from this case is that the appeals process is worth pursuing. The defendant filed an appeal because she believed that the lower court denied a motion that should have been accepted. The higher court ended up agreeing with the lower court, but there have been cases in
Which the higher court reversed the lower court’s ruling. In the same way that an arrest can be conducted improperly, the trial itself can be conducted improperly as well. If you believe your Pennsylvania DUI trial was mishandled, contact the Wyland Law Group regarding your appeal.
The Importance Of An Experienced DUI Lawyer
The biggest takeaway from this case is the importance of an experienced DUI lawyer. A good Pennsylvania DUI lawyer can:
Advise you on your options regarding an appeal or motion to suppress
File the appeal motion for you
Fight for your rights in court
Most often, evidence is suppressed because an experienced lawyer saw that it should never have been submitted. Appeals are filed – and granted – because an experienced DUI attorney determined that the trial was not conducted properly. Here at the Wyland Law Group, we have a team of experienced DUI attorneys who will fight for your rights.