Suppose a police officer stops you because they suspect you of driving while intoxicated (DWI). In that case, the chances are that they will ask you to blow into a breathalyzer to learn your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
Breathalyzer test results can determine whether the police arrest you and charge you with a DWI and whether the court convicts you. If a person’s BAC exceeds 0.08% in Texas, they are deemed intoxicated under the law. But what if breathalyzers have serious shortcomings that cause them to register people’s BAC inaccurately?
Many people consider external factors could affect breathalyzer readings. These include whether you recently chewed a breath mint, used toothpaste or even the amount of air you blew into the breathalyzer. Yet aside from those, there may be issues with the machine itself.
Why can you not always trust a breathalyzer reading?
The New York Times looked at breathalyzer reliability in a 2019 investigation. It reported that breathalyzers “generate skewed results” for reasons like these:
- They may be calibrated incorrectly
- They are not meticulously maintained
- Glitches could be lurking in their software
You might assume the simple answer is to refuse a breathalyzer test in case it gives a false reading. Yet, under Texas law, refusing to take the test will result in a license suspension.
Challenging your DWI arrest
A DWI conviction can upend your life in many ways. It’s that impactful. Understanding more about how breathalyzer testing works can help you choose the best way to contest your DWI. If you do not at least try, you have no chance of avoiding the consequences.