Anyone accused of a crime in the United States has a legal presumption of innocence. Basically, the general public, as well as the courts, should treat anyone facing criminal charges as though they are innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.
Unfortunately, the presumption of innocence doesn’t seem to apply to all offenses. Many individuals may mistakenly assume someone is guilty simply because they face certain kinds of criminal charges. Common myths, such as the infallibility of law enforcement and chemical testing, lead people to consider those accused of impaired driving to be guilty.
Unfortunately for those accused of it, impaired driving is a charge that individuals often don’t receive the benefit of the doubt about in the court of public opinion. However, you shouldn’t let the fact that people assume a drunk driving charge is true to affect how you handle those pending charges. Instead, you should look into what options you have for defending yourself.
Breath tests are not infallible, and you can challenge them
Despite the blind faith that many people place in chemical impairment testing, there are many known issues that impact how well chemical tests work. Everything from your individual medical background to your diet can impact how accurate a breath test is. The test looks for an entire group of molecules on your breath, not just alcohol.
False positives can and do happen. Many people find themselves surprised when they hear that they failed a chemical breath test, but there can be many different explanations for why someone sober fails a chemical breath test.
There are also potential issues in the process of administering the test that can affect how accurate the results are. Everything from out-of-date software to low batteries can impact the validity of the reading, to say nothing of officer errors in administering or reading the test.
Just because law enforcement claims that you failed a breath test does not mean that you were impaired at the wheel. There can be many explanations for a failed breath test, including an issue with the testing device or the person administering the breath test.
Consider defense strategies before pleading guilty
One of the biggest mistakes that people make regarding pending criminal charges is to quickly enter a plea in the hope of minimizing the consequences of those charges on their life. A guilty plea, even to a lesser charge, could cost you your job, professional licensing and even financing if you are the scholarship recipients in college.
Avoiding a conviction is always better than pleading to any offense. Before you make a decision that could affect your life for years to come, you should talk to someone, like a criminal defense attorney, who can help you understand your current options according to Pennsylvania law.