If you told the truth when the police officer asked if you had been drinking, you may have thought that your honesty would work in your favor. However, you likely provided the excuse officers needed to run you through a series of field sobriety tests, along with a preliminary breath test.
You may have been shocked that the glass of wine you had with dinner or the couple of beers you drank with the guys hours earlier registered that your blood alcohol content was over the legal limit. Your honesty just landed you in the back of a police car.
Breath tests are not reliable
Until you faced charges of operating while intoxicated, you probably never gave a thought to the trustworthiness of the breath test police use to check a driver’s BAC. Breath tests come under many brand names, including Breathalyzer, Intoxilyzer or Michigan’s standard, the Datamaster. However, in many states, people are challenging the validity of breath tests, particularly the roadside tests that are not often admissible in court. Apparently, any number of factors can cause the instruments to register a false reading, including:
- Lack of standardization
- Mechanical or electrical issues
- Police radio frequencies in the air
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Gaseous emissions of drivers with certain medical conditions
- Cigarette smoke
- Hand sanitizer
- Consuming certain foods
Once police get a positive reading, they have probable cause to place you under arrest, search your car and subject you to chemical tests of your BAC. If the machine gives a flawed positive reading, the subsequent search and arrest may be violations of your rights.
The odds are stacked against you
Law enforcement and the justice system place a lot of weight on the results of breath tests. When police administer such tests in the field, a positive reading may create a domino effect of questionable evidence that may lead to serious charges. The consequences of an OWI conviction are too serious to face without legal counsel.
An experienced criminal defense attorney understands what is at stake when you face OWI charges. Your attorney will examine your case from the minute police pulled you over and determine if law enforcement mistakes infringed on your civil rights. With a determined advocate on your side, you can be sure of having someone who will fight for the best possible outcome.