DWI defense lawyers in Buffalo have seen many changes to the breath test machines used to measure the blood alcohol content of drivers over the years.
The breath test machines currently in use are highly computerized and designed to allow very little margin for error by the user.
This does not mean, however, that they are always perfect in their performance.
The technology used in current breath test machines has been found to be generally accepted by the scientific community as producing accurate readings and, as a result, has been accepted by the courts of New York State.
Despite this general acceptance, the prosecution is still required to establish that the machine was in proper working order and the test was properly conducted before the score may be admitted as evidence.
While there is really no concrete rule regarding what evidence the prosecution must present to have the breath test score admitted, the procedure used in most cases involves submitting various documents regarding the maintenance and operation of the machine.
These documents typically include:
(1) a form indicating that the machine had been inspected and, if necessary, repaired and calibrated within a reasonable period of time before the defendant’s breath test (usually within six months),
(2) a form indicating that the simulator solution (a bottle containing an alcohol solution used to test the accuracy of the machine at the time of the defendant’s test) had been separately tested and the amount of alcohol in the solution verified, and
(3) a copy of the breath test operator’s permit issued by the New York State Department of Health confirming the officer operating the machine received training to perform the test.
While the breath test score will usually be admitted if these documents are properly presented, there are other factors that the judge or jury may consider when determining if the score was accurate.
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