Failed a Breathalyzer Test in Texas?
Lewisville DWI Attorneys Offer Ways to Challenge DWI Charges
The Lewisville DWI attorneys of Julian, Crowder & Shuster, P.C. can help you avoid the adverse repercussions of a DWI charge if you failed a breathalyzer test. According to the Texas DWI laws, first time offenders may face fines up to $2,000, 180 days in jail and license suspension up to one year. Multiple Texas DWI offenders face larger fines up to $10,000 and two years of jail time.
At the criminal defense law firm of Julian, Crowder & Shuster, P.C., our Lewisville DWI lawyers have had great success defending clients against DWI charges regardless of blood alcohol content reading. Contact our Lewisville DWI lawyers online or by calling (972) 315-6222 for a free consultation. We can then answer questions about failed breathalyzer tests, DWI charges or to learn more about your rights under DWI laws in Texas.
Lewisville DWI Attorneys Discuss How to Dispute a Failed Breathalyzer Test
For a successful drunk driving charge in Texas, the prosecutor must prove the driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) was above 0.08. If you failed a breath test, officers will use the results as evidence to strengthen their drunk driving accusations.
However, breath tests can be inherently unreliable. According to the National Motorists Association, there is a 50 percent margin of error for DUI breath tests when compared with blood test results. The smallest procedural or mechanical flaw in the breath test can determine innocence or guilt.
To dispute a failed breathalyzer test, you must convince a Texas jury that your breath test reading was influenced by other factors, such as:
- A defective breathalyzer device: The police must regularly calibrate the breath test devices to remain accurate. Poorly maintained or old breath test devices can yield inaccurate results. This then condemns innocent people to DWI arrests in Texas.
- Insufficient police training: Much like a speed gun, breathalyzers require specialized training to use to ensure accuracy. If you feel the officer may have had insufficient training, you can question the officer’s ability.
- Lack of probable cause for drunk driving: If you have been subjected to a breath test without probable cause, you may be able to fight the basis of the breathalyzer in court. Common probable causes for Texas drunk driving charges can include swerving on the road, having bloodshot eyes or the officer smelling the scent of alcohol.
- Failure to carry out 15-minute observational period before breath test: Before administering a breath test in Texas, officers must observe the possible drunk driver for 15 minutes. This ensures he or she does not engage in an activity that could alter the results of the breathalyzer test. Breathalyzers use infrared spectroscopy to detect even trace amounts of thousands of compounds contained within the methyl group structure. Certain actions may cause false readings, including burping, smoking, vomiting or rinsing with mouthwash. If the officer witnesses any of these behaviors, he or she must wait an additional 15 minutes before giving the breath test. If the officer fails to follow this requirement, it may result in grounds to suppress the use of the breathalyzer results as evidence.
A Lewisville DWI attorney can help you collect counterevidence, such as breathalyzer calibration records, officer training history or proof the officer did not follow the 15-minute wait period.
What Factors Can Cause a False Positive Breathalyzer Test?
Air temperature, your blood chemistry and how forcefully you blow into the breathalyzer may all skew a breath test reading. Breathalyzer tests use infrared light beams to measure microscopic amounts of alcohol present in the lungs and breath. However, breath tests will report any compound in your system that is probably alcohol. If you fall under any of the following, a breath test may return a false positive result:
- Diabetes – A diabetic experiencing low levels of blood glucose may have acetone on the breath. This is a byproduct of ketoacidosis. Other symptoms of low blood sugar may mimic that of a drunk driver. This includes slurred speech, confusion and blurry vision. Furthermore, some breathalyzer devices will not discern between ethanol and acetone/isopropyl alcohol.
- Fasting, high-protein or low-carb diets – Similar to diabetics, those on restricted diets may have false positive breath tests for high levels of acetone caused by ketosis.
- Medications – Some over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause a breathalyzer to show high BAC levels. Common medications that may cause this include certain cold sore medications, inhalers, cough drops as well as cold and flu medications.
- Smoking – Smoking cigarettes can raise levels of acetaldehyde in the liver and lungs of smokers. Some breathalyzers may then read this as alcohol.
- Using mouthwash or breath spray – Certain mouthwash brands can contain as much as 27 percent alcohol. Mouthwash and breath spray with alcohol can also stay active within the mouth for up to 20 minutes.
- Exposure to chemical fumes – Inhaling paint, gasoline, cleaning products or lacquer fumes may result in false positive breathalyzer tests.
If you feel one of the above factors led to a false positive breathalyzer reading, contact our Lewisville DWI lawyers. We offer a free consultation and case review regarding your DWI arrest. The Lewisville DWI attorneys of Julian, Crowder & Shuster, P.C. have a proven track record of DWI defense success. As former officers, we are prepared to examine the evidence with this insight for possible flaws, negligence and errors.
Lewisville Criminal Attorneys with Past Texas DWI Defense Success
- Texas Jury Finds Driver Not Guilty Due to Improper Breath Test Procedure. In one of our successful DWI cases, police pulled our client over and administered a breath test. It read 0.126. Our Lewisville DWI lawyers challenged the results on the basis that, at the time of the stop, our client’s blood alcohol content was as low as .06. The jury sided with our client. She was facing a DWI charge, a $1,200 fine, two years of probation, 40 hours of community service, a required substance abuse evaluation, a required DWI education class and the possibility of up to 180 days in jail if she violated any of those conditions. Additionally, she avoided having to pay the DWI driver’s license surcharge for three years (a cost of more than $1,000). Furthermore, she got her driver’s license back with no negative implications for her driving record. Her case then ended in expungement of the DWI charge, and there was no public record of the DWI.
- Officer Ignored 15-minute Wait Period, Driver Not Guilty. During a traffic stop, our client had a breath test result of 0.11. Our Lewisville DWI lawyers challenged the breathalyzer test on the grounds that the officer ignored the 15-minute waiting period by immediately administering the breath test. The judge tossed out the breath test evidence, and the jury found our client not guilty of DWI charges.
- Police Force Breath Test, Texas Jury Rules in Client’s Favor. In another case, a judge omitted breath test evidence after our Lewisville DWI attorneys showed that our client was improperly coerced into taking the breath test. Our client had a 0.095 BAC, and a jury ruled in our favor after the judge dismissed the evidence.
DUI/DWI in Texas? Get Drunk Driving Defense from Local Denton County Attorneys with Proven Defense Tactics
Do not assume that because failing a breath test means an automatic charge for driving while intoxicated. If you received a DWI charge in Texas, the Lewisville DWI attorneys of Julian, Crowder & Shuster, P.C. may be able to help gather counterevidence and dispute your DWI arrest. We serve clients across DFW, including Arlington, Grand Prairie and the smaller cities of The Colony and Coppell. Please contact our Lewisville DWI lawyers for a free consultation of your best DWI defense options today.