Are Breath Tests for DWI Arrests Foolproof?

Breath tests used as probable cause for DWI arrests are far from foolproof. The alcohol level in your bloodstream can change rapidly in a fairly short amount of time. As a result, breath test results could differ wildly from a person who takes the test just a few minutes after consuming an alcoholic drink and a person who takes the test 30 minutes later or one hour later.

Why does this make a difference? Well, a DWI conviction requires that the person charged with the offense have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more at the time of operating a vehicle. If a police officer doesn’t perform a breath test until after arresting and transporting a person to the station, then the breath test results may vary substantially from the time when the person was driving.

Furthermore, there is a required observation period during which the police officer must monitor the driver’s actions prior to administering a breath test. This is a mandatory process that officers must follow in order to make any breath test results admissible in court. The required waiting period also may alter the breath test results, simply due to the passage of time.

Police officers who administer breath testing machines in the state of Missouri must be licensed to do so. If they are not licensed or properly trained, they may improperly administer the breath test. If there is evidence of an officer’s failure to follow standard procedures or to receive adequate training on administering a breath test, a court could rule the breath test results to be inadmissible.

Finally, medical conditions or certain medications can interfere with breath test results, which may make them inaccurate. Evidence of these conditions can invalidate or cast significant doubt on breath test results at trial. All alcohol-related driving offenses can result in serious consequences. At Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center, we pride ourselves on helping our clients through their legal difficulties related to general criminal offenses, including drug offenses, traffic violations, DWI, and expungement of criminal records. Call our office today at (816) 322-8008 and learn what we can do to help. ;

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