If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI in Mississippi, you will likely be required to take a breath test. However, the result can show that you are drunk even when you are not. If that’s the case, you have a right to challenge the breath test to avoid a wrongful conviction.
Breathalyzer tests in Mississippi
The breathalyzer test was introduced in Mississippi in 1982 as a way to determine if a driver was intoxicated. The machine estimates the blood alcohol content (BAC) by measuring the amount of alcohol in your breath. When a police officer stops you under the suspicion of driving under the influence, they will stop you and ask you to blow into a machine. You can decide to do so or decline.
However, declining has its consequences. Under Mississippi’s implied consent laws, when you decide to drive your car on public roads, it is assumed that you have automatically agreed to take the test. Refusal can lead to license suspension for 90 days.
Challenging a breathalyzer test
Firstly, you or your criminal defense attorney can request a retest. In Mississippi, you have the right to ask for a second test. This test should be done as soon as possible after the first one. The results of the second test may be different than the first.
Secondly, you can challenge the machine itself. The device may not have been calibrated correctly or may not have been working properly. You can ask to see maintenance records for the machine to determine if it had a problem.
And lastly, you can also attack the officer’s observations. The officer who administered the test must have observed you for 20 minutes before the test. During this time, they should have noted any clues that you were intoxicated, such as slurred speech or the smell of alcohol. If the officer did not observe you for this long or did not note any signs of intoxication, you may be able to challenge the test results.
A DUI charge can lead to harsh penalties in Mississippi, including, but not limited to, jail time, fines, and a suspended license. Therefore, if there’s a chance to prevent that from happening, especially if you are innocent, it’s worth the trouble.