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Faulty Alcohol Breath Tests Could Lead to DUI Challenges

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,597 people were killed in United States traffic accidents in December 2010. Of those, 775 deaths involved alcohol-impaired drivers. A 2006 study by the NHTSA estimated that there is one drunk driving fatality in the United States every 30 minutes.


Georgia's Driving Under the Influence Laws are complex. Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith can sort through the intermingled laws that potentially create complications in a DUI case.


Evidence obtained from hundreds of alcohol breath tests in another state could be questioned because of a potential malfunction in the testing device that was used during DUI arrests. The DataMaster DMT-G had replaced the Intoxilyzer 5000EN, which was removed after concerns regarding its reliability. Now the DataMaster is facing similar challenges.


The mechanism used in the DataMaster combines fuel cells and infrared technology and leads to two tests. If the results of the two tests are significantly different then the device rejects the results. However, if the results of the two tests fall within a certain range then the lower of the two is accepted.


The challenge to the DataMaster involves the fuel cell component. The fuel cells do not operate in cold, dry weather. Police have compensated for this problem by disabling the fuel cell test and using only the results of the infrared test. Some police departments feel the infrared test is sufficient though the device is intended to test two ways.


An experienced Clayton County DUI accident attorney could question the results of a DataMaster device if part of the test is disabled. Additionally, tests could be challenged if weather conditions at the time of the accident might make testing results questionable. This could potentially be used as both a defense for someone who tests above the legal alcohol limit and for someone who tests slightly below the legal limit.


If you have questions about Georgia DUI laws, get the answers in Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith's book, I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? Contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith to schedule a free legal consultation.

Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia