What are my options if I blew over .08?

Ponca City residents and Oklahomans in the surrounding area facing drunk driving charges may have the misconception that, if they were caught driving and wound up blowing over a .08 blood alcohol content on a Breathalyzer or other certified testing device, they have no real options and should just plead guilty and take their punishment.

The reality, though, is that people who have "failed" a breath test have several legal options and defenses available to them. This is a good thing since, in many cases, even a first-time DUI offense with not special circumstances can put a long-term financial burden on a person and, theoretically, can still lead to jail time.

For one, the defendant can explore whether or not the police had a reason to pull them over in the first place. Police are not ordinarily permitted to administer a certified breath test without first having some probable cause to suspect drunk driving. While usually the police can establish probable cause in some way, in more cases than one might think, the officer overreaches and demands a breath test without good grounds.

Furthermore, a person should double check to make sure the breath test machine was working correctly and was in proper repair. There should also be the appropriate paperwork to document this fact. Likewise, the officer operating the machine has to follow protocol exactly and must be properly qualified.

Finally, even if everything appears to be in order, the reality is the Breathalyzer is not a perfect device. IN some cases, such as in the case of a diabetic or someone suffering from blood sugar problems, a machine may measure alcohol incorrectly.

Failing a breath test is not a reason for someone to give up hope that they will be able to fight a drunk driving case. People who are interested in what their legal options are with respect to a charge they do not want to accept should consider speaking with a qualified criminal defense attorney.

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