In the American criminal justice system, anyone accused of a crime receives the benefit of the doubt: A defendant is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.
Unfortunately, the presumption of innocence tends to apply more strongly in some cases than in others. In certain scenarios, people assume an individual facing charges is guilty before the case ever goes to court.
Driving under the influence (DWI) charges are a perfect example. Many people simply assume that anyone charged with a DWI who has failed a breath test is guilty.
However, that assumption is inaccurate and potentially damaging to anyone facing a DWI charge. If you have failed a breath test and now face a pending DWI charge, it is sometimes possible to challenge the results of the breath test.
Issues with the test can call the results into question
Breath tests are not infallible. The devices can malfunction. They also require regular calibration for proper operation. Mistakes in their use or maintenance could result in a false positive test result.
If you believe your positive result was wrong, you have the right to suppress challenge that evidence. There are many different factors you can consider when determining how to challenge breath test results.
For example, how old is the breath test unit? How recently has it been calibrated? Was the officer properly administering the test, or did they experience technical difficulties? Did you consume anything that could have produced a false positive, such as certain types of medications?
All of these concerns can impact how valid the final results of a breath test are, which can drastically affect the outcome in court. If you believe there was any issue with the administration of the test, the officer’s ability to perform the test or use the device itself, you may want to challenge the test results.
Positive breath tests don’t always mean someone is impaired
Even if the test is properly administered, failing a breath test does not automatically mean someone was under the influence of alcohol while driving. There are a number of medical conditions, ranging from untreated diabetes to auto-brewery syndrome, which can result in a false positive breath test.
After all, breath tests only look for a particular kind of compound, which may include other chemicals. Breath tests do not verify conclusively the presence of alcohol, nor do they prove impairment. People can successfully challenge these tests in court.
Texas DWI charges carry hefty fines and serious criminal consequences. Many people find it is in their best interest to challenge these charges. Before you make any decisions about a pending criminal charge, an attorney should carefully review your situation and advise you regarding your legal options.