Drivers in Iowa face severe penalties for charges of impaired driving. Depending on numerous circumstances, consequences can include fines, jail time, increased insurance premiums and the loss of driving privileges. With the possibility of these devastating consequences, it is crucial that any breath test results are accurate. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
A thorough investigation will ask numerous crucial questions when considering the validity of any breath test result, including:
- Was the law enforcement officer properly trained? The officer must complete training on the machine’s functions, limitations and administration so they fully understand the test.
- Was the test administered properly? Even with proper testing, the officer must follow careful administration steps.
- Was the device cleaned and stored properly between uses? The officer must clean the machine after and before each use to ensure there is no environmental contamination. Additionally, if the officer stores the device incorrectly, the results might be suspect.
- Was the device accurately calibrated? To ensure an accurate measurement, the officer must properly calibrate the breath test machine prior to administration.
- Were there environmental factors that contributed to the test result? Were there paint fumes, smoke or other particulate matter in the area that could influence the accuracy of the results?
- Were there driver history factors that contributed to the test result? Did the driver recently eat or use mouth wash? Does the driver have a medical condition or take prescription medicine that could impact the breath test results?
Drivers who are operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, alcohol or prescription medication can find their perceptions dulled and their reaction times slowed. However, an OWI conviction can result in severe penalties so the officers must take great care to ensure the accuracy of any test results. If certain factors influenced the breath test result, the entire case could be challenged.