Almost every driver will tell you that they enter “panic mode” when they see a police car behind them with lights flashing. This feeling is intensified if the driver has had even a single drink at any point in the past week. There are a lot of misconceptions and fears surrounding breathalyzer tests requested by police officers. In many instances, police officers take advantage of the fears and misunderstandings to get drivers to incriminate themselves.
Illinois drivers need to understand that the breathalyzer isn’t 100% accurate all of the time. We get many calls every week from drivers who state the same thing: “I blew into the breathalyzer so I don’t have a defense, but I just want to talk with a lawyer.” In reality, that is simply not the case.
The breathalyzer must be calibrated within statutory timeframes in order to be presumed accurate. Courts have regularly held, particularly in McHenry County, that these calibration requirements must be strictly adhered to. The results of a machine are only as reliable as the machine itself.
Not every police officer can take a breath sample; there are training and experience requirements that must be met. The protocols for obtaining a breathalyzer sample are detailed and must be followed. For this reason, many rookie officers cannot conduct the test.