Steven Ellis Bradley was sentenced to serve 24 months of supervised probation along with a 12-month suspended sentence after he was convicted of driving while impaired (DWI). His sentence includes 24 hours of community service, a 60-day suspended jail term and a year of probation on charges of assaulting an officer. The incident occurred when Bradley, himself a former North Carolina state trooper, drove his personal car into a pond while his seven-year old daughter was sitting in the back seat. A breath analyzer test administered two hours after the incident showed that Bradley had a .14 blood alcohol concentration (BAC), nearly twice the legal limit of .08.
While Bradley admitted to being impaired by alcohol, his breath test may not have been very accurate, according to Dr. David J. Hanson of Potsdam University. Dr. Hanson conducted research showing breath analyzer tests can be thrown off significantly by all kinds of factors. For example, the yeast in some kinds of bread can cause a person to register a .05 even if they have not had a single alcoholic drink. Strenuous activity, including hyperventilating immediately prior to taking the test, can significantly reduce the levels recorded by the machine.
Under North Carolina’s implied consent law, all drivers are assumed to offer consent to a breath test from the moment they are arrested. There is no requirement under the law for the police to obtain a warrant before demanding that you take the test. However, you are permitted to have your attorney or a witness present during the test. Your test will not be delayed for longer than 30 minutes for this purpose, however.
If you have been arrested on charges of drunk driving or driving while impaired, it is extremely important that you contact a well-qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney may be able to help you to avoid a possible prison sentence and protect your rights while you are in police custody.