Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A. South Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney | Over 25 Years Experience
Call Today | Free Consultation 803-746-4302

South Carolina DUI case dismissed because of botched breath test

One of the common themes on our blog is the requirement of police to conduct their investigation in an appropriate manner. In the absence of upholding such standards, a defendant in a criminal case could see their case dropped; or, at the very least, some evidence could be deemed inadmissible.

Procedural perfection is expected of all law enforcement agencies, and any deviation from that could result in a dismissed case. Nothing highlights this fact more than a drunk driving case out of Columbia, South Carolina, which saw the case against the defendant dropped because of a procedural mistake by the arresting officer while administering the breath test.

The accused man was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. When the officer pulled him over, he gave the man a breath test -- and he instructed the man to "blow hard," seemingly to ensure that the equipment would get a proper reading of the man's breath.

However, the phrasing "blow hard" is actually not allowed by officers administering a breath test. The reason for this is that the machine may misinterpret a person's blood alcohol level depending on the breath pacing. Testimony from an "expert witness" in this case stated that, yes, a person's BAC could be altered because they are instructed to exhale stronger than they normally would.

As a result, the case against the man was dismissed because his blood alcohol level was inadmissible.

This story raises all sorts of questions about police procedures -- but it also highlights the relative ineffectiveness (or, maybe more appropriately, the questionable nature) of breath test equipment. If deviations in a person's breathing pattern can alter a BAC reading, then the consistency and reliability of the process comes into question.

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

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
 York County Bar Association South Caroline Bar NACDL South carolina association of criminal defense lawyers United states court of appeals | For the Fourth Circuit
Email Us For a Response

Tell Us About Your Case - Schedule A Free Consultation

To schedule a confidential appointment with an experienced South Carolina criminal defense attorney, please call 803-746-4302 or fill out this form:

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Christopher A. Wellborn, P.A.
142 Oakland Avenue, Suite C
Rock Hill, SC 29730

Rock Hill Office Location