What are the requirements for a valid breath test in Utah?

When Utah police suspect that a person has been driving under the influence, they must have proof in order to make an arrest. One common test that police use is a breath test. This test measures the person’s blood alcohol content level to determine if it is above the legal limit or not. However, if the test is not used correctly then the results can be affected and a person could be wrongly accused.

Under Utah Administrative Code R714-500-7, analytical results of breath alcohol concentration tests will only be valid if certain requirements are met. Under this rule, the person administrating the test must by a certified operator or technician. Under Administrative Code R714-500-8, this means that the officer must have completed at least eight hours of training on DUI laws, the effect of alcohol on a person’s body, how the breath test works. The officer must also perform several simulated tests. This certification must be redone every three years in order to be a certified operator.

In addition to those requirements, the test will only be valid if the results are measured using breath specimens that are either end expiratory or alveolar in nature. The instrument used to test a person’s breath must also print out the results and those results must be kept by officer who operated the machine or the department’s evidence custodian. Additionally, the instrument used by the police officer to measure the BAC level of a person’s breath must be certified under Administrative Code R714-500-6.

If these requirements are not met, then the results could be invalidated in court. Without valid results, the prosecutor will not be able to use the results of the breath test to obtain a conviction. People facing DUI charges, should therefore, make sure that these requirements were followed during their breath test as part of their criminal defense strategy.

Source: Utah Department of Administrative Services, “Utah Administrative Code Rule R714-500 Chemical Analysis Standards and Training,” accessed on Aug. 3, 2014

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