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Troy MI License Restoration Blog

Monday, April 20, 2015

GETTING YOUR BAC (BREATH ALCOHOL CONTENT) RESULTS THROWN OUT OF COURT

When a police officer stops a person suspected of drunk driving the officer will administer a number of tests to determine whether there are grounds for an arrest. In addition to “field sobriety” tests, the officer will ask the individual to submit a PBT (preliminary breath test).

These “tests” are used by the officer to determine whether the driver’s ability to drive safely is “impaired” due to the consumption of alcohol. A PBT is not admissible in court to establish blood/alcohol levels but is used as an indicator to lend validity for the arrest.

For purposes of this article, we will focus on what is referred to as the BAC DataMaster.

The BAC DataMaster is a different machine than the PBT. Once the arrest has been made pursuant to the officers roadside testing (including the PBT), the individual will be transported to the station for processing and also to submit another breath sample to be analyzed by  the BAC DataMaster.

The results from this test are admissible in court to establish blood/alcohol levels; but, only if proper procedures are followed.

In order for the results to be admissible, the operator must first observe the person for a fifteen minute period. The observation period is used to make sure that the individual did not smoke, regurgitate, or place anything in his/her mouth.

Although more than one police officer may be used to satisfy the fifteen minute time period, the observation period must be no less than fifteen minutes. Now, this means that when the officer gets you into the station he cannot go about conducting other business, leaving and coming back into the room, etc., and assume that behavior will conform to the rules. And, although challenges can be made as to the “lack” of observation period, most challenges to the fifteen minute rule will arise due to the period not being long enough. Believe it or not, these simple addition mistakes do happen.

Now, the Michigan State Police have new machines called DataMaster DMT. These machines remove operator error with respect to the fifteen minute rule (the new system will abort a test if the start observation time entered would result in the test sequence infringing  on the fifteen minute observation period). However many police agencies still operate with the old BAC DataMaster machines and therefore it can still be an area of concern and possible challenge.

Additionally, it is not clear as to whether all State police posts have the DataMaster DMT machines and therefore it is imperative that the attorney investigate this aspect of the case to ensure the clients rights have been adhered to.

Your drinking/driving attorney must be familiar with drunk driving practice in order to even know that there may be a challenge to the arrest and potentially be cause for your case to be thrown out of court.

For informed representation, call the Law Offices of Martin Lievois in Troy at 248-419-1566 or in Flint at 810-250-4550.

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