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While many might view a drunk driving charge as a minor offense, this is actually considered a major traffic violation that could result in serious penalties if convicted. Thus, motorists in Virginia and elsewhere should take these charges seriously, noted the evidence used against them and ways to assert a defense against the pending charge.

Law enforcement frequently use blood alcohol concentration tests to determine if a motorist is in fact over the legal limit. There are five ways to test a suspect's BAC, which includes urine, saliva, hair follicles, blood and breath. While there is a variety of ways to screen for this, law enforcement typically use breath tests and blood tests to gather evidence against a suspected drunk driver.

With regards to a breathalyzer, these devices are used to analyze the alcohol content of exhaled vapors from the suspect's mouth. Although this is not the most accurate and scientific method used to determine a person's BAC, it is the frequently used method. Nonetheless, courts have been known to throw these tests out, questioning the reliability of the machines used. In fact, the reading obtained by law enforcement can vary by 15 percent from a person's actual BAC level. This could mean the difference between being below or above the legal limit.

Those accused of a DWI are able to challenge a breath test if one was used at the time of their arrestor charging. If the device wasn't properly calibrated or conducted, this could result in erroneous result. Thus, it is proper to challenge the evidence used against you in a drunk driving charge. Doing so could result in the charges being reduced or even dismissed, helping a defendant avoid unfortunate penalties and consequences.

Source: Findlaw.com, "BAC Test FAQs," accessed August 13, 2017

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