DWI Breathalyzer Test
Police officers use a range of testing to determine if someone is driving under the influence while driving (DWI). The most common of these is using a breathalyzer to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) with a breath sample. These tests can be done through a portable breathalyzer (PBT) or submit a sample a sample at a full-sized breathalyzer located at the law enforcement station. Regardless of how the sample is measured, the results of a breath analysis test are not to be trusted at face value.
A breathalyzer is designed to measure your BAC using a specialized reactive mixture. The mixture is made with certain chemicals that detects gases such as vaporized ethanol. Although these machines were created for accuracy, many factors could cause a breathalyzer to yield false results. For instance, if the machine isn’t calibrated or maintained properly, then the BAC results from that breathalyzer could be inaccurate. Other external factors could contaminate the breath sample and therefore result in a faulty positive such as having a slow metabolism, being on a diet or even the temperature of your breath.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI by a breath test, then we implore you to get in contact with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Austin DWI Defense Attorney for Breathalyzers in Texas
Police officers heavily rely on breathalyzer results when they charge people with DWI. However, these machines are known to sometimes generate false results because of a variety of factors. Some of these factors include something as simple as being on diet. For these reasons, we highly suggest you get in contact with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Get in contact with experienced DWI Austin attorney Kevin Bennett at The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. He has been handling DWI cases for years and can utilize his knowledge for your case. Don’t wait to defend your freedom and get in contact with The Law Office of Kevin Bennett as soon as possible. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett will examine your case and begin charting out the best possible defense plan for your case.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents people throughout the greater Austin area including Rollingwood, Lago Vista, Bee Cave, Pflugerville and Del Valle.
Overview of Breathalyzers and Intoxilyzers in TX
- What is a Breathalyzer?
- Is It Better to Deny a Breathalyzer Test?
- If You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test, What Happens?
- Additional Resources
What is a Breathalyzer?
Breathalyzers are a type of device intended to measure a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). An officer can either test you with a portable breathalyzer (PBT) at the pull-over site or they can take you to the station to the full-sized breathalyzer. Generally, the full-sized breathalyzer tends to give much more accurate readings than the portable breathalyzer.
A breathalyzer is made up of two glass vials that contain a chemical reaction mixture and a system of photocells connected to a meter. The meter will measure the color changes associated with a chemical reaction. To calculate your BAC, the breathalyzer will process your breath sample through a mixture of chemicals which includes sulfuric acid, potassium, dichromate, silver nitrate and water.
If alcohol is found in your system, the reddish orange mixture in the meter will turn green. Law enforcement will then compare the reacted mixture with a control or unreacted mixture. The difference between these two samples will give the officer the information needed to calculate a BAC reading.
Is it Better to Deny a Breathalyzer Test?
You may assume breathalyzers are accurate since they’re scientific tests actively used in court cases. However, this cannot be farther from the truth. An breathalyzer test can yield false results because of external factors such as having diabetes or a slow metabolism. Oftentimes the issues with breathalyzer testing originate from poor maintenance. If law enforcement doesn’t calibrate the device properly, then the equipment could give skewed results.
Listed below are some common problems that could occur during breath analysis.
- You took cold medicine;
- You work with paint, lacquer, cleaning solvents or other alcohols;
- You have a slow metabolism;
- The device wasn’t calibrated properly;
- You belched, vomited or hiccupped right before the test;
- You’re on a diet;
- Electromagnetic interference with the device such as cellphone signals;
- You have acid reflux;
- The officer read the results wrong;
- The temperature of your breath;
- You have diabetes;
- The officer didn’t follow procedures
If You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Texas, What Happens?
Many attorneys get the question: “should I refuse a breath test from law enforcement?” While the answer is ultimately up to you, it’s safe to say the majority of DWI defense lawyers will say you should refuse. If you feel confident your results will yield a low BAC, it may be easier to comply and get it over with. However, it’s important to remember that perfectly sober people have failed the breathalyzer test due to other external factors.
The risks associated with refusal are quite light in comparison to a DWI conviction. If you refuse a breathalyzer test, then you should expect to have your license administratively suspended for up to 6 months. A second refusal will result in an enhanced suspension term of two years.
Thankfully, you can contest a breathalyzer test if you file for an administrative license revocation. You only have 15 days to file a request and if you fail to meet the deadline DPS will no longer give you a chance to fight your suspension. At the hearing, you and your attorney can supply evidence as to why you need a restricted license.
The penalties associated with DWI are much more extensive than a license suspension. You could be sentenced to time in jail, pay expensive fines, probation, community service, a DWI course, a drug and alcohol dependency course and more. In the end, it’s probably a better option to refuse and not give the prosecution hard evidence of your impairment. That way it’s much harder to convict you of DWI than if you had complied with breath analysis.
Breathalyzer Manual for Law Enforcement in TX– Visit the official website of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to learn more about breath analysis and how a breathalyzer is used as directed by law enforcement. Access the document to learn the history of breath analysis, procedures and maintenance of both intoxillyzers and breathalyzers.
Implied Consent Laws in TX– Visit the official website of Texas Penal Code to access the statutes surrounding implied consent laws, also known as DWI refusal laws. Access the statute to learn more about the penalties for refusing to submit to DWI testing, what happens if someone is incapable of refusal and required information provided by the officer.
DWI Defense Lawyer in Austin, Texas
Have you been accused of DWI because of a breath analysis test? If the answer is yes, you will need the help of an experienced Austin DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney can assess your breath analysis results for any possible errors. They can then use that information to build your defense, so you face the least amount of consequences possible.
Find experienced and knowledgeable representation with The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. Kevin Bennett has been a practicing DWI defense attorney in Austin for years and is passionate about what he does. He can examine the facts of your case and start charting out a sturdy defense to fight your allegations. To learn more, get in contact with The Law Office of Kevin Bennett at (512) 476-4626. We will set up your first consultation with attorney Kevin Bennett free of charge. From there you can discuss your case and begin planning how to build your defense.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett accepts clients throughout the greater Travis County area including Lago Vista, Bee Cave, Pflugerville, Manor and Del Valle.