A Breathalyzer test is one piece of evidence in a DWI (driving while intoxicated) case. If you fail a Breathalyzer in Texas, you are not automatically guilty of a DWI. Nor does it mean you will automatically be found guilty if your case goes to trial. It is substantial evidence the state’s prosecutors will use against you. Your lawyer, however, can challenge those results based on several factors.
Each defendant and case is different, so the best way to understand the charges against you and the likelihood of conviction, acquittal, or dismissal is to review the details of your case with a DWI attorney. Your lawyer and their familiarity with state law and jury trials can clarify the strengths of your position and the steps they can take toward the best possible outcome for you.
Do I Have to Submit to a Breathalyzer Test?
The implied consent law in Texas compels you to submit to a Breathalyzer test. Police obviously can’t force you to perform a breath test. However, if you refuse a breath test, police may apply for a warrant to force a blood draw. Authorities can force a blood draw at anytime. In some small counties, they will not force you to submit to the chemical test unless:
- You were in an accident that resulted in serious or fatal injuries.
- You were previously convicted of intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter.
- You were previously convicted of DWI twice or more or with a minor vehicle passenger.
If any or all of the above statements are true, the arresting officer is more likely to apply for a warrant to take blood. You should also know that refusing the test will have consequences. The police officer to whom you refuse the test must explain the potential consequences to you at that time. A DWI defense lawyer will clarify the potential consequences of your case.
What Are the Consequences of Refusing to Have My BAC Tested?
Except under specific circumstances, you will not be forced to submit to a Breathalyzer or blood test to measure your BAC. However, refusing to submit to BAC testing may result in a drivers license suspension that is longer than it would have been if you consented to a test. However, whether you consent or refuse, you are still entitled to a ln ALR hearing to try and prevent your license from being suspended. Realistically, the chances of your license being suspended are low.
According to Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) guidelines, a first-time offender who refuses the test could face a driver’s license suspension that lasts many as 180 days. If this is not your first DWI arrest, your license can be suspended for two years.
Either outcome could inconvenience you and your family during the suspension period. It can also mean you face the hefty costs of alternative transportation. Public transportation, rideshare services, taxicabs, and other transportation options can add up quickly.
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How Do I Know if I Failed a Breathalyzer?
According to Texas Penal Code § 49.01, the standard Breathalyzer test measures your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in 210 liters of breath. You failed the test if your BAC measures .08 or higher. A different BAC will apply to commercial drivers.
Remember, the test results are only one piece of evidence in your DWI case. Various factors can affect your test results, including residual alcohol, certain diets, some medications, and issues with the testing machine. An attorney will delve into all these potential irregularities and how they affect your case.
How Will My Lawyer Challenge the Breathalyzer’s BAC Results?
While the results of a Breathalyzer test can damage your DWI defense, your lawyer can challenge them. On your own, it can be hard to know how to challenge the state. Doing so can also be stressful and intimidating without legal guidance and support.
To bolster and strengthen your case, your lawyer will:
- Explore any physiological issues that could make you a bad candidate for a breath test
- Question the calibration of the testing device
- Request the testing device’s maintenance records
- Challenge the validity of the test results
Your lawyer can also use the discovery process to examine the evidence the state has against you. They can also interview witnesses and review the details of your arrest for possible violations of your rights.
How Will My Lawyer Help With My Criminal Case?
Whether you submit to a Breathalyzer test or pass or fail it, you should consider hiring a lawyer to represent you if you are arrested on a DWI charge. A lawyer can fight to get your case dismissed, negotiate a plea bargain on your behalf or try your case to a jury. They can also examine your case’s details and explain the best defense options for you.
Once an attorney represents you, they will:
- Investigate every detail of your case.
- Locate and interview supporting witnesses and document their accounts.
- Document the probable cause for pulling you over.
- Try to prove no probable cause for your arrest exists.
- Review the details of your arrest for any rights violations.
Each step will allow your attorney to build a solid defense strategy. They will focus on mitigating your case and helping you avoid the state’s harshest penalties. Your lawyer is also your advocate. They will fight for bail to avoid you spending a long time in jail while your case is being developed.
How Will a DWI Conviction Affect My Life?
Driving while intoxicated is a dangerous activity. Even if it doesn’t lead to a conviction, an arrest could stain your good name and community standing. In addition:
- You could be required to install an ignition lock device on your car.
- You could be ineligible for many types of professional licenses.
- Your auto insurance rates could increase significantly.
Depending on the severity and outcome of your charges, they may be ineligible for expungement, which means they will be part of your permanent record and show up on subsequent background checks forever. A lawyer can help you avoid conviction and protect your present and future.
Get Help With Your DWI Case Now
You are not automatically guilty of a DWI if you fail a Breathalyzer in Texas. Your case requires additional investigation, and our law firm can help you build a credible defense strategy.
An attorney can help you fight back after a DWI arrest. When our team at Blass Law represents you, you get a certified ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist, Jay Blass Cohen, on your side. Contact our consultation team to get started today.