The statistics behind driving under the influence reveal a very big lesson; it is never alright to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking. Personal injury lawyers see the devastation of this statistic every single day. With at least one person in the United States dying from drunk driving accidents every hour, drunk driving is not worth the risk. Because of these scary facts, sometimes an officer may be a bit over-vigilant in trying to catch drunk drivers. Although you give implied consent to a chemical test if you are a licensed driver in many states, you may have some valid medical defenses if you were stopped under suspicion of driving under the influence and refused a breathalyzer.
Although you may really want to take a breathalyzer test to prove your innocence, not everybody is physically able to do so, and they should not be shamed for this fact. A breathalyzer test will require a specific amount of air and deep breathing capacity.
Reason #1: COPD
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which is more commonly known as COPD, is a medical condition that affects around 30 million people in the U.S. every year. People who struggle with COPD often have increased tightness in their chest, wheezing, breathlessness, and frequent coughing. As COPD gets worse, the lung capacity you have inevitably decreases. If you have struggled with COPD for a long time, you are in an especially bad position to be asked to give a breathalyzer test.
Reason #2: Asthma
Some people will experience reduced lung functioning after battling with asthma. In fact, over time, people with asthma can see a decrease in lung capacity in the same way that those with COPD do. People who had severe childhood asthma may have decreased lung functioning as adults. That can cause major problems when you try to force the lung capacity to blow with enough endurance and strength to take a breathalyzer test.
Reason #3: Emphysema
Emphysema is another condition that reduces lung capacity and functioning. It causes damage to the air sacs of the lungs, and sufferers experience increased shortness of breath. The primary cause of emphysema is smoking. As this condition worsens, lung capacity decreases. Those who have untreated emphysema or who have been struggling for a long time may not be able to take the breathalyzer test.
Finally, keep in mind that simply having the above conditions may not be a legal defense, but you should speak to a criminal attorney about your specific situation if you have had a DUI arrest where you refused a breathalyzer test. If it is a viable defense in your case, you would need to show evidence of your illness and reduced lung capacity, and testimony from a medical professional may be necessary. There is a lot at stake, so talk to your DWI attorney about any questions and concerns you have. They can help you determine the best moves to optimally protect yourself in court. Contact a lawyer such as Walsh Fewkes Sterba, for more information about fighting your personal injury claim.