In Texas, as well as elsewhere in the US, there is a common misconception that if you blow over the 0.08 legal limit on a breathalyzer test, it is a foregone conclusion that you will be convicted of a DWI.
Tragically, numerous defendants take this number as gospel and the authorities certainly will not alert them to any potential legal remedies. Thus, they plead guilty without even consulting with an attorney in hopes that their cooperation will help their case or that they can just get it over with.
The truth is, however, that blowing a 0.08 or above on a breathalyzer test is not a guarantee that you will be convicted of Driving While Intoxicated. With the help of a skilled defense attorney, there are several possible defenses you could put forth against a DWI charge with an over-the-limit breathalyzer result that could potentially help you avoid conviction.
Firstly, you may have a strong argument against a breathalyzer result over the legal limit if the result came from a portable breath test. Some officers have a small hand-held breath test device which they will use before a person is arrested. Such devices are wildly inaccurate and the results are so unreliable that they are not even admissible in court. The officers usually do not even properly administer the portable breath tests. However, officers will use the result to help them decide, or to bolster their opinion that a person is intoxicated.
There are numerous types of field sobriety tests that an officer could administer, and most of them are notoriously inaccurate or are oftentimes improperly administered by the officer. Because of the high potential for inaccuracy, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration only recommends three types of field sobriety tests the walk-and-turn test, the one-legged stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which have accuracy rates of just 68%, 65%, and 77% respectively.
Additionally, the nystagmus test has an exceptionally high potential for being improperly administered.
If the case against you hinges on an over-the-limit breathalyzer result that came from a field sobriety test, you may have a strong chance of beating a DWI conviction with the help of a skilled attorney.
There are also cases where a person blows over the legal limit at the police station or is found to have an illegal BAC as a result of a blood or urine test, and they may still have a chance of beating a DWI conviction.
In cases where the BAC was very close to the legal limit, such as a 0.09, it could be successfully argued that the driver was under the legal limit while they were driving, but their BAC rose above the limit in the time period between being arrested and having their BAC tested at the police station.
The prosecution will generally utilize experts who will argue a principle called extrapolation that they claim allows them to accurately judge that the BAC was over the legal limit while driving, but there are numerous experts who agree that extrapolation is forensically unacceptable when it comes to predicting someone’s BAC. Essentially, extrapolation is a wild guess, which leaves the door open for a strong defense against the DWI charges, even though you registered a BAC over the legal limit at the police station.
If you have been charged with a DWI or a DUI in Texas, a guilty conviction is never a foregone conclusion, even if you blew over the legal limit on your breathalyzer test. Contact The Medlin Law Firm today and let us fight to defend your rights and your freedom.