Can I Avoid DWI Conviction Even If I Fail a Breathalyzer or Field Sobriety Test? | Pleasanton DWI Lawyer
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Can I Avoid DWI Conviction Even If I Fail a Breathalyzer or Field Sobriety Test?

Posted on in DWI

TX defense lawyerAs it is in all 50 U.S. states, drinking and driving is against the law in Texas. When a police officer suspects that a driver is under the influence of alcohol, he or she may use various techniques to test the extent of the driver’s impairment. Breath alcohol tests or “breathalyzers” determine an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC) by analyzing a sample of the driver’s breath. Field sobriety tests are used to assess a person’s attention, balance, and coordination – functions that are heavily influenced by alcohol intoxication. However, failing a breath test or field sobriety test does not necessarily mean that a person is impaired.

Problems with Breathalyzers That Can Lead to Inaccurate Readings

The portable, roadside breath tests police officers may administer at a traffic stop differ significantly from the breath alcohol tests used at the police station. Handheld breath tests are not as accurate or reliable as the machines used at the police station. The results of a roadside BAC test may be used to justify an arrest for suspected drunk driving, but these results alone do not justify a driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction.

Both roadside and police station breath tests can be inaccurate. These machines must be regularly calibrated, cleaned, and maintained to function properly and yield accurate results. Mouthwash, medicines, or even belching during the test can also lead to inaccurate results. Studies have also shown that the popular ketogenic diet, a diet in which a person consumes little to no carbohydrates, can also yield false-positive breathalyzer tests. Because a number of issues can lead to inaccurate BAC results, failing a breathalyzer does not automatically mean that a person will be convicted of DWI.

Sober Drivers Can Fail Field Sobriety Tests Due to Medical Conditions and Other Issues

Standing on one leg, walking heel to toe, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test are some of the most commonly used field sobriety testing techniques. A police officer may use these tests to determine if a driver is showing signs of intoxication like trouble balancing, difficulty following directions, or irregular eye movements.

However, most of these tests are only accurate if a driver does not have any medical conditions that could impair his or her ability to perform the task correctly. For example, if a driver has a medical condition that causes dizziness or muscle weakness, he or she may not be able to balance on one leg even if he or she is completely sober. The National Highway Traffic Administration states that the horizontal gaze nystagmus test is accurate 77 percent of the time. This means that nearly a quarter of tests may yield inaccurate results.

Contact a Pleasanton DWI Lawyer

Failing a breathalyzer or field sobriety test does not mean that you will be convicted of DWI. At BCP Criminal Defense Attorneys, our skilled Atascosa County criminal defense lawyers know how to find flaws with testing devices, test administration, and police procedures that can weaken the prosecution’s case against an alleged drunk driver. We can help you build a strong defense against DWI charges. Call us at 830-769-1010 for a free, confidential consultation.

Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16894360/

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/documents/sfst_pm_full_manual.pdf

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