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When are test results admissible for drunk driving charges?

When a Pennsylvanian is stopped for an investigation related to possible driving under the influence, officers may administer tests to try to determine the person's blood alcohol content. After an arrest, one of the most important pieces of evidence is these test results. The blood test or breathalyzer test will only be admissible in a court of law, if it was conducted with approved equipment used by people qualified to give the tests. Any violation of the applicable protocol when giving the tests, could render the results inadmissible as evidence against the person.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has approved certain devices for measuring a person's blood alcohol content. In addition, the Departments of Health and Transportation have set procedures on properly administering tests with these devices. For example, the equipment must have been calibrated and tested to ensure its accuracy. With the breath test, the equipment operator'squalifications will be based on whether they took training to give the test that has been approved by the Departments of Health and Transportation. Also, there must be a certificate or a log that shows that the device was calibrated and tests were given to make certain that it is accurate.

When there are chemical blood tests and these are conducted at a facility that is in the state, they mustbe given by a clinical laboratory that has been given a license and received approval by the Department of Health. They will use equipment and adhere to procedures that were given by the Department of Health or the criminal lab for the Pennsylvania State Police. The person conducting the blood test must be authorized based on the Clinical Laboratory Act. When there are blood tests, the equipment must have been reviewed within 120 days of the effective date,and a minimum of every two years after, to make certain that any technological or scientific advances meet the protocol of equipment and its reliability and accuracy.

Those who have been arrested for driving under the influence should be aware that they will face a variety of consequences for a conviction. These can include losing one's driving privileges, being fined, facing higherinsurance costs, and even incarceration. It is imperative to formulate a strong defense against these charges. If a person believes that the breath tests or other tests were not administered properly, the test results could be deemed inadmissible.

Source: legis.state.pa.us, "1547. Chemical testing to determine amount of alcohol or controlled substance. -- (c) Test results admissible in evidence.," accessed on Feb. 18, 2017

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