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Breath test thrown out for alleged bad instructions

A South Carolina municipal judge said that a breath test could not be used as evidence in a court case because the police officer who administered it reportedly gave incorrect instructions during the test. Datamaster is the only machine that police officers can use when giving breath tests in South Carolina, and according to an instructional video, users should not be instructed to blow hard. A police officer reportedly told the person being tested several times to do just that.

The Datamaster works by using infrared lights to absorb air that comes out of someone's mouth. How the light absorbs the air is determined by its contents, and the amount of ethanol from alcoholic beverages can be measured. Since the most accurate readings come from deep lung air, officers are instructed to tell people to take deep breaths and blow as long as they can. Because the machine expects a continuous exhalation, blowing harder may produce higher results.

Although a city judge's decision may not hold in other districts, this ruling may cause defense attorneys to reconsider the ways they represent clients. One defense attorney believes that officers in numerous locations are not administering breath tests correctly.

In South Carolina, being charged with a DUI can have enormous consequences, which is why it may be important for people in this circumstance to speak with attorneys. Criminal defense attorneys may be able to assist people in building strong defenses, and they may also investigate to determine whether all legal procedures were followed correctly. Criminal defense attorneys may also be able clarify defendants' rights and options and help them understand the intricacies of the legal processes that they may have to go through.

Source: The State,"Breath test thrown out in Columbia DUI," Noelle Phillips, March 12, 2013

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