Faulty and Unreliable Breath Tests
When you are stopped on suspicion of a DUI/DWI in Austin, a breathalyzer test may be administered to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). Under Texas law, breathalyzer tests can be conducted when a law enforcement officer has reason to believe the individual was driving while intoxicated. At the same time, breath testing must be conducted in accordance with the Texas Breath Alcohol Testing Regulations that are contained within the Texas Administrative Code.
As with many kinds of testing equipment and procedures, there are numerous ways in which breath tests can be faulty and unreliable. When breath tests are faulty or unreliable, you can use that information to show that the DUI/DWI is invalid and to insist that charges against you be dropped. Discovering that a breath test was faulty or unreliable is one of many ways that you can beat a DUI/DWI.
How Can Breath Tests Be Unreliable in Austin, TX?
What makes a breath test unreliable or faulty? As we mentioned, there are numerous ways in which breathalyzer machines and other breath alcohol tests can produce faulty or unreliable results. In general, these issues tend to fall into one of four major categories:
- The breath test device was faulty or defective;
- Law enforcement official improperly used breath test device;
- The individual on whom the breath test was performed has an underlying medical condition that can render the results of the breath test invalid.
Breathalyzer Device Was Faulty or Defective
First, we want to talk about all the ways in which a breathalyzer device or other breath alcohol testing device can produce faulty or unreliable results, which can be grounds to get a DUI or DWI dismissed. As BacTrack explains, there are three major devices used for testing a person’s BAC, including a blood test, a hand-held breathalyzer device, and a “preliminary breath tester” (PBT). Breathalyzer devices and PBTs are common among law enforcement because they are lightweight and relatively easy to use. However, this does not mean that their results are always accurate. The following are some ways in which these devices can be defective:
- Defective breathalyzer sensor technology;
- Semiconductor sensors reading false positives;
- Defective fuel cell sensors;
- Miscalibration of the breath test device.
Improper Use of a Breath Test By a Police Officer
Police officers in Texas are trained to conduct breath tests, but they can make mistakes. Human error is a common reason for false positives in breath tests designed to measure a driver’s BAC. Sometimes breath tests need to be performed more than once in order to ensure consistency in the readings. Whether it is an error in actually using the device properly, or a situation involving police misconduct, you may be able to have your DUI/DWI case dismissed.
Underlying Medical Condition
Several underlying medical conditions can affect the read of a breath test device. For instance, if you suffer from acid-reflux disease, GERD, diabetes, or are on a low-calorie diet, breathalyzers that use certain technologies have been known to produce false positives.
Getting an Experienced DWI Attorney in Austin
If you believe your underlying condition affected the reading of your breath test, it is extremely important to work with an Austin DWI defense attorney who can argue that your breath test results should be invalidated and that your case should be dismissed.