If you get pulled over and the officer suspects you of driving under the influence, you may be asked to submit to a Breathalyzer test. Under South Carolina’s implied consent laws, Sec. 56-5-295, anyone with a driver’s license is automatically required to submit to a chemical test (Breathalyzer, blood test, or urine test) to determine whether your blood alcohol level is above the legal limit, if asked to do so by law enforcement. The officer may then arrest you for driving under the influence, based on the results of the test.
You can refuse a Breathalyzer test
Many drivers assume that if an officer asks you to take a Breathalyzer test, you must do so. However, this is not the case. In fact, refusing a Breathalyzer test may be in your best interest, as it keeps prosecutors from obtaining evidence of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the stop. Keep in mind that if you choose to refuse a Breathalyzer, you will automatically lose your license for six months for a first offense.
Breathalyzer results are not always accurate
Even if you submit to a Breathalyzer, there is no guarantee that the test results will be accurate. Breathalyzer results may be inaccurate due to:
- Improper administration of test by law enforcement
- Improper maintenance of the device
- Failure to regularly calibrate the device
- Interference from radio frequency transmissions
- Chemical exposure/environmental factors
- Driver’s health conditions (e.g., Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
If you can establish that your BAC results are not accurate, prosecutors may have no choice but to drop the drunk driving charges against you. The criminal defense attorney representing you will evaluate the above factors and determine if there is a reason to challenge the accuracy of the results.