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Challenging a Breathalyzer test

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2022 | DUI

Under South Carolina law, people who have obtained their drivers license have given implied consent to have their breath, urine or blood tested for drugs or alcohol after an alleged traffic violation. Motorists who refuse the test automatically have their driver’s license suspended for 90 days. People who have previous alcohol-related suspensions or convictions within the previous 10 years will have their license suspended for 180 days. Refusing the test prevents the blood-alcohol level from being collected as evidence for court.

Challenging the automatic suspension

Some motorists may be able to have their legal driving privileges restored by filing an objection to the suspension with the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings. The OMVH operates independently from DUI court and has the power to determine if the up-front suspension should apply. Once the $200 filing fee has been received, a hearing officer is assigned to preside over the case and the petitioner is notified of the hearing date no less than 30 days in advance.

Challenging Breathalyzer results

The admissibility of evidence collected from Breathalyzers may be challenged in court. There might be several options available for this type of defense. In South Carolina, Breathalyzer tests, field sobriety tests and arrests are supposed to be recorded on video. Without video evidence or a low-quality recording, the defendant’s rights could have been violated. The video may show if officers violated proper protocol at any point during the testing or arrest.

The video may not stand up to scrutiny; any improper conditions or any moment when the test may have been administered incorrectly could deem it inadmissible. Examining video recordings from the police department for any additional evidence of violations or breaks in protocol may also be fruitful. Checking the Breathalyzer’s calibrations and maintenance history for any other factors affecting the results may also be a way to challenge the evidence.