When the state of Texas accuses someone of drunk driving, evidence that can convince the courts of their guilt will need to be gathered by law enforcement officers and/or prosecutors. For many individuals arrested for a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense, chemical test results are the main evidence pointing to their guilt.
People tend to assume that breath tests and other chemical evidence are highly accurate. Even when someone knows that they only had one drink or didn’t drink at all, they may feel as though pleading guilty is the only option if they failed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test during a traffic stop. Partially as a result of this reality, it is a relatively common practice for motorists to plead guilty to DWI charges rather than trying to defend against the charges they’re facing. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand how frequently breath tests return inaccurate results.
Why chemical testing isn’t that trustworthy
A chemical breath test examines a sample of exhaled air how to look for alcohol molecules. However, other compounds can also trigger a false positive, including acetone. Therefore, there are many issues that might lead to false positive results on a breath test.
Someone using certain medication or mouthwash that includes alcohol right before driving could trigger a false positive result. Certain dietary choices and even health issues can also cause false positives. Additionally, errors made by the officer administering the test or a failure to maintain and calibrate the testing device could also result in inaccurate test results showing that someone was under the influence when they were actually below the legal limit.
Challenging test results is a possible defense strategy
Those accused of impaired driving can potentially cooperate with a defense attorney to avoid a criminal conviction by challenging the accuracy of their test results. Especially in cases where there is minimal other evidence indicating that someone was under the influence, presenting evidence that raises questions about the accuracy of the testing or an alternate explanation for the results could create the reasonable doubt that someone needs to avoid a conviction.
Considering every viable defense option can help those facing DWI charges to potentially avoid incarceration and other life-altering penalties over a situation that may ultimately have been a misunderstanding.