Most people (and many lawyers) mistakenly think that a Washington breath test cannot be challenged. A good Washington DUI defense attorney knows that the contrary is true. Successful challenges to the Washington breath test are possible, and that experience guides the successful approach to challenging the test.
Challenges to the Washington breath testing process may fall into several categories: (1) the failure of the police to follow procedures that exist to insure that the test results will be reliable; (2) the failure of the police to take the proper legal steps which entitle them to ask for a breath test, and (3) scientific challenges to the accuracy of the test itself. The science underlying the Washington breath test is complicated as are the potential challenges.
Experience and technical knowledge count when challenging a Washington breath test. Evidence such as breath test room video, calibration and maintenance history of the Datamaster machines, Washington State Patrol breath testing manuals and Toxicology quality assurance procedures (QAP) can make a difference and need to be requested and reviewed in every case.
Given how complicated the Washington breath testing process is, access to and knowledge of scientific treatises and studies relating to breath testing issues can often help your case. Sometimes even outside experts need to be consulted and brought in on your case. So your attorney should have an ongoing relationship with Washington breath testing experts, should their testimony be necessary at a trial or hearing.
The breath test is an important part a Washington DUI case, but is only one piece of evidence. A breath test reading “over the legal limit” does not automatically result in a conviction if the test results are challenged and dealt with effectively in court. There may be several challenges to a breath test in a particular case. Experience guides a knowledgeable DUI defense attorney to choose the approach that has the highest probability of success.