If you’ve got a DUI or DUAC with a breath test result, you might feel hopeless. I mean, the officer might’ve even told you the machine’s a “scientific instrument.”

There are some things you need to know that will give you hope about South Carolina’s “breathalyzer,” which is actually called the DataMaster DMT. They can call it a scientific instrument all they want, but it’s a machine that works like a grocery scanner. And machines malfunction.

Before I tell you what goes wrong with the machine, know that if you refuse to blow, the law you should do at least one thing right at your trial.

Here’s a partial list of things that go wrong with the breath test machine. But don’t take my word for it; the list comes from the owner’s manual:

  • TEMPERATURE LOW - The breath sample chamber temperature is below 45ºC.
  • TEMPERATURE HIGH - The sample chamber temperature is 55ºC or above.
  • RADIO INTERFERENCE - That’s right, a radio can mess this thing up.
  • CALIBRATION ERROR - The “internal standard” is wrong.
  • PUMP ERROR - The pump’s broken.
  • BLANK ERROR - There’s an alcohol reading greater than .003 during the “blank test” of room air.
  • FILTER WHEEL ERROR - The filter wheel won’t activate properly.
  • INVALID SAMPLE - Believe it or not, that means your alcohol level isn’t rising during the test. Yep, you can argue the test is rigged to get the highest amount possible.
  • SIMULATOR OUT OF RANGE - The simulator solution reading is outside acceptable limits. The simulator solution is a mixture of pure water and alcohol within a certain range that’s used to test the machine’s reading. It’s good the machine gives a margin of error for that. Unfortunately, it’s for the state, not you.
  • AMBIENT FAIL - Alcohol or another absorbing vapor is detected in the surrounding air and gets sucked into the machine as it starts the process.

Officers like to brag the machine gives a perfect result because of all its “self-checks.” If it detects any of these or other errors, it should report them and stop the test. But here’s my thing about that: what if the “self-checker” is broken? What happens then? These machines just seem to give more questions than answers.

Give Yourself the Most Hope

With a DUI or DUAC and a breath test result, you need professional help. The truth about these cases is you may have defenses you don’t even know about, which is the title of my FREE book you can download to learn more about your case.

To start building your defense, get your own professional so you’re not the only amateur in the room. Fill out our get help now form or call 888-230-1841 to schedule a free strategy session so you can start fighting back. 

Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.
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