Those in Prescott who are facing drunk driving charges might be thinking about how they can lodge an effective defense to avoid the harshest penalties. They might not be considering how some of the procedures that law enforcement used as part of the investigation, such as a field sobriety test or a breath test, will be considered when the case goes to trial.
Understanding the law for blood and breath tests and when they are admissible as evidence is important in this respect. When there is blood drawn in connection with a drunk driving investigation, it can only be done by a registered nurse, a physician or a person who is qualified to do so for blood-alcohol concentration determination. The person’s qualifications are not a basic prerequisite for the determination made by the test to be admissible. Should a law enforcement officer order a breath test and the person is granted a chance to have a second test by a registered nurse, physician or qualified person, the sample is not required to be preserved to collected. Failing to give the opportunity to have the additional test does not mean the test given by the officer is inadmissible.
When the person commits breath test refusal after the officer has requested one through probable cause or if there is a search warrant, the evidence will be admissible when there is a criminal case or a civil case. The trier of fact will determine how refusal should be assessed. Breath test refusal is a class 1 misdemeanor. Should the person who is in a vehicle that had a crash and caused injury or fatality to another person make a statement without evidence of a crime (corpus delicti), it will be admissible.
While the law says that the breath or blood test will generally remain admissible in the above circumstances, it is still possible to question the testing procedures, the equipment used, and the people who conducted the tests. There are other ways to defend against drunk driving charges that a legal professional experienced in helping clients arrested for DUI charges can use to achieve a successful result. Calling for advice is the first step for those who have been arrested to plan for that defense.