Fine print in Missouri guidelines regarding breath analysis equipment

The Department of Health and Senior Services has strict written guidelines regarding the maintenance of breath analysis equipment used by law enforcement. These guidelines are in place to uphold the chemical integrity of breath tests. Current regulations state, the machines must be periodically tested at one of three levels of blood-alcohol content: 0.10 percent, 0.08 percent (the legal limit in Missouri) or 0.04 percent.

In recent months an apparent loophole was noticed in the regulations from Nov. 30, 2012 to Jan. 29. During those 14 months, the regulations said breath analysis equipment was supposed to be tested to the level of 0.10 percent, 0.08 percent and 0.04 percent. Some interpret the “and” to mean equipment must be calibrated to each of the three levels.

Recently the regulations were changed to say “or,” meaning police are required only to test the machines at one of the levels, instead of all three.

Breath test results are only one piece of a puzzle when it comes to evidence in a DWI case. Quality DWI defense attorneys like John Schleiffarth study each piece of evidence in a DWI case to find facts that can be used to defend their clients. Mistakes are frequently made by law enforcement in administering standard field sobriety tests and breath tests. These mistakes can have a bearing on the outcome of the investigation and ultimately on charges handed down by law enforcement. Some mistakes, if proven in court, may result in minimized sentences and even cases being thrown out altogether.

Don’t let mistakes on the part of law enforcement permanently damage you or a loved ones life. JCS Law fights DWI charges and criminal defense attorney John Schleiffarth boldly represents those accused of DWI.

Source:, “Drunken driving suspects may get a break from fine print in Missouri regulations”, Jesse Bogan, February 27, 2014

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