California Supreme Court Limits Challenges to Breath Test Machines in DUI/Drunk Driving Cases


On December 22, 2007, a California Highway Patrol officer observed the defendant (Terry Vangelder) driving a pickup truck in excess of 100 miles per hour in San Diego County. He followed the defendant for approximately five miles. At that point, the officer activated his patrol vehicle's lights and stopped the defendant.

After providing his license and registration, the defendant admitted that he had consumed two glasses of wine. During the DUI/drunk driving investigation, the defendant exhibited few signs of impairment. The defendant was given a portable breath test examination on the scene. The portable breath test device showed an alcohol concentration of .095 percent on the first test and .086 percent on the second test (which was administered two minutes later). Based upon the observations and the preliminary breath test results, the defendant was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) and transported to the county jail. At the jail, the defendant provided two more breath samples through an Intoximeter. The first breath test from that device registered an alcohol concentration of .08 percent; with the second test, taken two minutes later, producing the same result.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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