What You Need To Know About Breathalyzer Tests
A breathalyzer test is something that many people are familiar with, even if they have never had to take one. These tests are notoriously inaccurate but can still be enough to convict an innocent person of drunk driving. When a person agrees to take a breathalyzer test and is charged based on the results of that test, they need to speak to a Fort Worth breathalyzer lawyer who can help. Any accusation should be taken seriously and a detail-oriented attorney can investigate the facts surrounding an arrest to build a defense.
Problems with Breathalyzer Tests
One of the reasons breathalyzers are so inaccurate is there are several ways they can malfunction. The actual device used to perform the test may be defective, particularly if the police officer does not properly calibrate it before use. Electromagnetic interference, such as that coming from a smartphone or an officer’s radio, can also cause a breathalyzer to return inaccurate results. This is particularly true with older breathalyzer devices.
Further, a person’s health or habits can also greatly affect the results of a breathalyzer test. If a person just used mouthwash or took cough syrup, the breathalyzer could pick up that alcohol content even when the person has not had anything to drink. In certain cases, health issues such as acid reflux or blood sugar issues can also cause a false breathalyzer reading.
A breathalyzer lawyer in Fort Worth knows exactly what can go wrong when these tests are performed. They know how to investigate the device, a person’s medical history, and what they were doing before agreeing to the test to fight a DUI or DWI charge.
How do officers establish the need for breathalyzer or blood tests?
Police officers can pull over motorists over suspicion of driving while intoxicated. However, you must be subjected to an official breathalyzer test before you are placed under arrest.
Police officers must establish suspicion first that you are driving while intoxicated before they stop you, conduct a breathalyzer test, and arrest you. The need for a test must be preceded by reasonable suspicion of intoxication.
The most common determinant when establishing reasonable suspicion is a field sobriety test or FST. Police officers can also subject you to a breathalyzer test if they have a portable breath testing device. However, most don’t carry such devices.
What’s more, field sobriety tests don’t offer concrete proof of intoxication. If challenged, most FST results aren’t admissible in court. It’s worth noting that you don’t pass or fail a field sobriety test when you are stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The test just offers clues about your sobriety. Based on those clues, you can be subjected to a breathalyzer or a blood test.
Was the officer justified to pull me over?
Police officers are required to have a valid reason/s to make traffic stops. For instance, drivers who are over speeding, swerving, or driving erratically are supposed to be stopped. However, you need a Fort Worth breathalyzer lawyer to evaluate the officer’s reasons in detail to establish if there was a legal justification to stop you. If there is no justification, any evidence obtained from such a stop can be inadmissible in court. However, in the absence of proper legal help, most police officers can be able to justify lawful arrest.
How should a breathalyzer test be conducted in Fort Worth, Texas?
Before you are subjected to a breathalyzer test in Texas, you must be given a statutory DIC-24 DWI warning. The officer also needs to dictate the test procedure. Breathalyzer testing operators also need to have up-to-date training and certification for the breathalyzer model being used. The breathalyzer also needs to be calibrated and maintained properly and supporting documentation provided upon request. Any deviation from the above requirements may render the test inadmissible.
How These Tests Can Work Against Fort Worth Drivers
One of the biggest problems with breathalyzers is not the fact that they can malfunction or provide inaccurate readings. Rather, it is the fact that many police officers use the results to charge drivers with drunk driving, even if there are no other signs that point towards the charge.
A Fort Worth breathalyzer lawyer knows that breathalyzer results do not always indicate guilt. When representing someone who has been charged with drunk driving, they can investigate whether the police officer followed proper procedure while administering the test. If not, they can use that information while building the case.
A lawyer could look at any video of the traffic stop to determine whether there were signs the driver was drunk. They can also look for signs that the police officer did not have reasonable and probable cause to pull the driver over, as they are required to. Any information gained during this investigation could then be used by the attorney to build the strongest case possible.
Refusing a Test
Often when a person is asked to take a breathalyzer test after being pulled over for possible driving under the influence, they wonder whether they have the option to refuse the test. Sometimes this is out of fear, but often it is because they are aware of the problems and inaccuracies that accompany a breathalyzer.
In Fort Worth, it is legal for someone to refuse to take a breathalyzer test after being pulled over, but there are usually consequences. Refusing to take the test could result in a driver’s license being suspended or other penalties for a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge. These penalties may still be incurred even if someone is found not guilty of the DWI. For more information, contact a Fort Worth breathalyzer lawyer today.
The Importance of Consulting a Fort Worth Breathalyzer Attorney
While many people are aware of the problems a breathalyzer test can have, it can be difficult for a driver to prove them on their own. However, a skilled Fort Worth breathalyzer attorney knows how to dispute test results that may not be accurate.
If you have been charged with drunk driving, and a breathalyzer test result contributed to your arrest, speak to a Fort Worth breathalyzer lawyer who can help. While it may appear hopeless, breathalyzer results are not as damaging as they may seem. An attorney can use real facts to help with your case.