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The admissibility requirements for Arizona breath tests

According to the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there were more than 23,000 people arrested for driving under the influence in 2014. The cornerstone of many DUI cases is breath test results. Under the state’s implied consent law, the authorities may use such tests in order to determine the blood alcohol content level of motorists who they believe were drinking and driving. Overcoming the results of these tests may seem insurmountable, however, there are some situations in which breath tests may be deemed inadmissible.

Under Arizona state law, the breath test results can only be submitted as evidence if the test is administered by an operator with a permit. Furthermore, the device used must be approved by the state’s Department of Health Services or the Department of Public Safety. When administering a test, the operator must follow an operational checklist that has been approved by the DHS or DPS. Therefore, people may argue that the test was not legally administered if it is determined that the operator’s permit was not valid or that the device had not been approved.

There are a number of factors that may affect the accuracy of breath tests. Thus, the devices used to conduct these tests must be in working order to ensure precise results. Under state law, there must be records on file that show the periodic maintenance of the device used to determine a person’s BAC level. This may include records of calibration checks on the device. In situations when it cannot be proven that a device was in proper operating condition, the results of the test may be thrown out.

In order to be used as evidence, duplicate breath tests must be administered. This helps to guarantee the accuracy of the results. State law specifies that the results of these tests must be within 0.02 percent of each other. Duplicate tests may not be performed if the tests’ operators observe the drivers they are testing for at least twenty minutes prior to administering a test. Thus, if a person did not submit to multiple breath tests or was not observed by the test operator, then the test’s results may not be considered admissible in court.

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