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Drunk driving arrests aren't solely based on breath tests

Most Louisiana residents are under the mistaken impression that as long as their blood alcohol concentration is not above the state's legal limit of .08 that they will not be arrested for DUI. Unfortunately, most arrests for drunk driving are based on more than just a roadside breath test. This is because many people rightfully question the accuracy of a breath test in court.

In fact, if enough "evidence" of intoxication exists, a person's BAC does not have to reach .08 to preliminarily substantiate an arrest. BAC results between .05 and .07 could also result in an arrest. Officers often rely on other evidence and testing in an attempt to bolster their contention that a driver was intoxicated. For example, field sobriety tests are common and often recorded as evidence. The problem with this is that any number of physical conditions can cause a sober person to fail these tests.

Just as the presence of mouthwash, breath mints or any other alcohol-based fluid in the mouth can cause a false positive in a breath test, other factors can cause a person to fail field sobriety tests. Officers are not medical practitioners, and most are not qualified to make medical judgments about an individual's health. For example, circumstances other than intoxication can cause a person to fail the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.

Louisiana residents who face charges for drunk driving based on purported evidence other than a breath test have every right to challenge its admissibility in court, along with any breath or blood tests administered. A criminal defense attorney who routinely helps those arrested for DUI would understand the legal and practical challenges to such evidence. After a thorough review of an individual's case, the appropriate steps can be taken to pursue the best possible outcome to any charges filed.

Source: FindLaw, "Passed a Breathalyzer Test? It Won't Always Get You Out of a DUI", Accessed on May 20, 2017

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