In many cases people are arrested, cited for DUI and plead guilty, without being informed about the potential problems and challenges to breathalyzer test results. This is unfortunate as DUI convictions in Arizona result in mandatory jail time, drivers license suspensions, huge fines and ignition interlock requirements.
Breath Testing Device Issues
Although the results of a breathalyzer tests administered by a certified operator using am Intoxilyzer 5000 in Arizona may be admissible to prosecute and convict people for DUI in Arizona, it doesn't mean the results are infallible. On many occasions, breath tests results are suppressed or "thrown out" due to software issues, improper maintenance of the machine, calibration difficulties and operator error.
The Department of Health Services along with many police departments in Arizona have policies and procedures in place which are designed to ensure that breathalyzer tests are accurate and admissible. This includes observing an individual for a period of fifteen minutes immediately prior to the taking of a breath test, following an approved Intoxilyzer checklist and running a breath testing instrument through periodic calibration and quality assurance tests to make sure it is working properly.
Other issues which might affect the reliability of a breath tests result include the presence of food, candy, etc in your mouth during administration of the test, consumption of liquids which contain alcohol such as mouthwash or cold medicine just prior to the tests, burping, belching or vomiting within minutes of taking a test or medical conditions such as diabetes or gastrointestinal difficulties like acid reflux.
Unfortunately, neither a police officer, prosecutor or judge is going to tell you about the potential of actual problems with a breathalyzer test while you are facing a DUI charge. Consequently, you are well advised to consult with an experienced DUI defense lawyer who can investigate all aspects of your case from the initial motor vehicle stop to the field tests, your post arrest interview and the breath or blood test results.