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Will I Automatically Be Charged with DWI for Failing a Breathalyzer?

 Posted on May 20, 2021 in DWI

TX DWI lawyerDriving while intoxicated by alcohol or other substances is unlawful in all fifty U.S. states. However, knowing when a driver is too intoxicated to drive safely is not always easy. Portable breath alcohol tests like breathalyzers are designed to measure the amount of alcohol on someone’s breath and use that information to calculate the person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). The results of these tests are not always accurate, however. As a result, many people wonder, “Will I go to jail for drunk driving if I fail a breathalyzer test?”

What Happens During a DWI Stop?

When a police officer suspects that a driver may be under the influence, he or she has a few options. Sometimes, the officer asks the driver to complete a field sobriety test. These tests assess a person’s coordination and body responses to determine if they are under the influence. However, illnesses, injuries, and a host of other issues can interfere with these tests. Breath tests are often used in addition to or in place of a field sobriety test.

There Are Two Types of Breath Tests in Texas

Police officers carry portable breath tests which are often referred to as breathalyzers. These tests can be inaccurate. Consequently, the results of this preliminary breath test are usually not admissible as evidence during legal proceedings. A preliminary breath test is used to determine if there is enough evidence of intoxication to make an arrest. You are under no legal obligation to take a preliminary breath test.

Once a suspected drunk driver has been arrested, he or she will be subjected to a secondary BAC test called a post-arrest test. Under Texas’s “implied consent” law, you are required to submit to this secondary test. These tests are typically more accurate than portable breath tests, however, a number of problems can lead to inaccurate results. If the device is not calibrated correctly or has not been properly maintained, it may yield a false reading. If the person who conducts the test does not administer the test correctly or misinterprets the results, the test may be faulty. The amount of time between the test and when you were driving may also invalidate the results. Therefore, it is possible for a person to fail a preliminary or post-arrest breath test and still avoid conviction for DWI in Texas.

Contact a Denton County DWI Lawyer

You are not automatically guilty of drunk driving if you fail a breathalyzer or other BAC test. In fact, the skilled Plano criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C. have helped over 100 clients avoid DWI convictions even though they failed a breath or blood BAC test. Call us at 469-333-3333 for a free, confidential consultation today.




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