Just about any criminal charge has the potential to significantly damage an individual's life. It can result in jail or prison time, fines and harm to one's reputation. One of the more common criminal offenses in the Fort Myers area is drunk driving. Some individuals who find themselves accused of this crime either didn't have a drink prior to being pulled over, or they had a drink or two but believed they were under the legal blood alcohol content level of 0.08%. This, then, raises the question of how a motorist's blood alcohol content is calculated. This is no small thing. After all, there are usually significant penalties on the line.
While law enforcement and prosecutors often rely on field sobriety tests to detect intoxication, they also commonly utilize Breathalyzer tests. These tests require an individual to blow into a machine which then calculates his or her blood alcohol content. These are machines that most motorists have never interacted with, but which law enforcement may use daily.
Does that seem like some sort of conflict? Well, issues can arise. Law enforcement officers are required to take certain precautions to ensure that these devices remain in proper working order and are accurate. This doesn't always happen. Calibrations are forgotten about and those who administer the test may not be properly trained or have their certification renewed. In other instances, law enforcement officers may fail to adequately instruct motorists how to perform the test or may continue with a test despite a motorist burping or vomiting at the time. Some police officers even neglect to ensure that a reading is accurate by securing a second reading that is within a similar range. This essentially means that law enforcement officers sometimes cherry-pick the results of a breath test.
All of these mishaps can leave a Florida resident facing very real and significant criminal charges. Those who fail to aggressively defend themselves against these charges can wind up convicted and thus must deal the harsh penalties discussed above. Fortunately, skilled criminal defense attorneys who know how to combat drunk driving charges stand ready to assist.