When Are DUI Test Results Inadmissible?

In 1992, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in State v. Sensing that six elements must be proved before the admission of a breath alcohol test if a person is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. One of those requirements is that the State prove that the motorist was observed by the investigating police officer for twenty minutes dui-breath-test-police-officer-holds-up-machine-stop-30814058prior to the test. During the twenty-minute period, the motorist suspected of DUI must not have any foreign matter in his or her mouth, must not consume any alcoholic beverage, must not smoke and must not belch, burp, hiccup or regurgitate. Generally, the breath alcohol test machine’s checklist will reflect this observation which must be noted as a required step in the pre-test procedure. Keeping in mind the protocol of of the mandatory twenty-minute observation period held Sensing, the recent case of State v. Schafer filed May 2014 in the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals heard arguments on the trial court’s finding invalid the twenty minute observation period prior to a breath alcohol. The trial court suppressed the breath test, determining that the observational period requirement had not been met since the officer was distracted during the observation period. The Appellate Court upheld the trial court’s decision to suppress the evidence. If you have been arrested and charged with DUI or DWI it is imperative that you obtain the services of a competent legal professional who knows Tennessee law as it relates to your case and will advocate on your behalf making certain all your rights under the law have been followed. Contact our DUI Defense attorneys today to discuss your case.

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