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. ;

Do I Qualify for a Hardship License?

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.309 provides the circumstances under which you may request for a hardship license, or limited driving privilege (LDP), when your driver’s license is suspended, revoked, or denied, and your license is not currently eligible for reinstatement. An LDP allows you to drive in certain predetermined situations while you do not have a valid driver’s license.

There are some situations in which you are ineligible for an LDP, as follows:

  • Your license is eligible for reinstatement, but you have not met all the reinstatement requirements.
  • You have been convicted of a felony offense involving a motor vehicle within the last five years.
  • Your commercial driving privileges are suspended, revoked, cancelled or disqualified.
  • Your license has been revoked for failing to pass a driving or medical exam as required by DOR.
  • Your suspension is for an unpaid motor vehicle accident judgment.
  • Your suspension is for an unpaid ticket in Missouri or any other state.
  • Your court-ordered suspension is for a DWI or driving with excessive BAC conviction, or you have an administrative suspension for driving with a BAC over the legal imit.
  • You are not a Missouri resident and you do not currently work or attend school in Missouri.

If your suspension is related to DWI, you may be eligible for a restricted driving permit (RDP) in some situations, which is another form of a hardship license. However, obtaining an LDP in that situation is not an option.

Additionally, if you do not already have an SR-22 insurance form on file with DOR when you are granted an LDP, then you must have your insurance company provide proof of insurance to DOR. If you have more than one alcohol-related driving offense on your record, or an active chemical revocation, or in some cases, only one alcohol offense, then you must submit proof of installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) on your vehicle. You must maintain the IID on your vehicle for as long as you have the LDP. When you are charged with any type of DWI or alcohol-related offense, you will need an experienced DWI defense attorney to represent your interests from the very beginning of your case. Obtaining a hardship license may be a possibility if your license is suspended for this type of criminal offense, and we will fully explore this option with you. We are here to look at the facts of your case, explore your options, and build the strongest defense possible on your behalf. Contact the Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at Benjamin Law Firm, LLC, at (816) 322-8008 and set up an appointment to speak with us today.

What Evidence is Required to Expunge My Criminal Conviction?

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.40 sets forth Missouri’s comprehensive expungement law that went into effect in 2018. Once you have filed a petition for expungement, the court holds a hearing to consider evidence in support of the petition. The court may accept evidence and hear testimony on the following factors related to each offense listed in the petition for expungement:

  • The required amount of time has elapsed since you completed the disposition imposed for each offense, which generally is seven years for felonies and three years for misdemeanors, municipal offenses, or infractions.
  • You have not been found guilty of anything other than traffic violations during that same time period.
  • You have satisfied all obligations related to the disposition for the offense, including the payment of any fines or restitution.
  • You have no charges pending.
  • Your habits and conduct demonstrate that you are not a threat to the public safety of the state.
  • The expungement is consistent with the public welfare.
  • The interests of justice warrant the expungement.

In other words, you generally must how that you have not been engaged in any criminal activity during the seven or three years since you completed the sentence for the criminal offense that you are seeking to expunge. You also can provide evidence that you are a good and productive member of society. To that end, you may offer evidence to show that you are gainfully employed or are attending school and that you have developed a stable home and family life. If your past offenses involved drugs or alcohol, you might offer evidence of completion of rehabilitation, counseling, educational courses, or any ongoing efforts that you regularly engage in to maintain sobriety.

If you provide evidence that meets the objective criteria listed above, i.e., that the correct timeframe has elapsed since you completed the sentences for your offense, you have accrued no additional criminal convictions or pending criminal charges, and you have satisfied all of your obligations required by your sentence, then there is a presumption that you should receive an expungement of the offense. If the prosecuting attorney’s office objects to the proposed expungement, they can provide evidence that rebuts the presumption that you should be granted an expungement. Any victim of the offense also can provide testimony at the hearing regarding your petition for expungement. The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center of Benjamin Law Firm, LLC, is a law firm focusing on DWI and traffic violations, as well as expungements. When you need results, contact us at (816) 322-8008 or fill out the online information form located here.