The Breathalyzer Test

Find Out if Your Breathalyzer Test Can Be Challenged.

As Houston DWI Lawyers can tell you, if you are pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, you may be asked to take Harris County Breathalyzer Tests, Harris County Blood Alcohol Tests or Harris County Field Sobriety Tests. Depending on the outcome of these tests, you may be placed under a Harris County Arrest for DWI in Texas or DUI in Texas. The Texas DWI Laws can be complex, and the penalties for a DWI in Texas conviction steep. Unfortunately, even the soberest person could potentially fail one or more of the Harris County Field Sobriety Tests, including Harris County Breathalyzer Tests.

Texas DWI Laws surrounding breath tests requires you to blow into the Intoxilyzer or breathalyzer. If the resulting breath alcohol concentration is at or above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, you would be considered intoxicated in the state of Texas. It is important to remember, however, that time could be on your side. The Harris County District Attorney must prove you were intoxicated while you were driving. By the time Harris County Breathalyzer Tests are administered, it could realistically be forty-five minutes or longer from the time you were pulled over.  

If you are over the age of 21, your BAC must be 0.08 percent or higher to be arrested for DWI in Texas. If you are under the age of 21, you are not allowed to have any detectable amount of alcohol in your system, and if you do, you could be arrested on charges of DUI in Texas. If you are a commercial driver with a CDL license, your BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) cannot be higher than 0.04 percent, even if you are driving your own personal vehicle. What may work in your favor is that Harris County Breathalyzer Tests have a multitude of issues which can render the results inaccurate, therefore invalid. Across the state of Texas, the Intoxilyzer 9000 is the breath test machine used, and is based on the absorption of infrared light, looking for both the presence, and the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. There are a number of factors which can make the results of the Intoxilyzer unreliable, including the following:

  1. A breathalyzer measures alcohol which has traveled into your airway after evaporating from your blood. The machine makes the assumption that the amount of alcohol in your breath is equal to that in your blood, which is an incorrect assumption and varies according to multiple issues.
  2. The temperature of your breath can make a significant difference in the BAC reading; the warmer your body, the higher the BAC reading will be, plus the breathalyzer machine assumes your breath is 93.5 degrees; this varies from person to person, particularly among women who have larger body temperature fluctuations due to hormones. Even one degree above the 93.5 degrees can increase your BAC by as much as 7 percent.
  3. The manner in which you breathe can also make a difference in your BAC reading. If you happen to be a shallow breather, the breathalyzer could measure your BAC a full 20 percent higher than it actually is.
  4. The breathalyzer is calibrated on the assumption of the “normal” male, which means a smaller than “normal” man, or a smaller woman may test a higher BAC.
  5. A person’s individual health or health condition at the time can impact Harris County Breathalyzer Tests, specifically those who suffer from heart disease, are running a fever, have liver disease, diabetes, gum disease and even heartburn. Specific medications can affect BAC results, and even a person on the ketogenic diet could have falsely high BAC readings.
  6. The Intoxilyzer 9000 has problems specific to the model as well, notably the fact that radio frequencies from a cell phone or the police officer’s radio can cause the Intoxilyzer to malfunction, affecting your BAC reading.
  7. Breathalyzer machines may be poorly maintained or poorly calibrated, which can definitely result in inaccurate results. The machines actually require a significant amount of upkeep to continue working properly.
  8. The breathalyzer machine could be working correctly, however the officer administering Harris County Breathalyzer Tests could be improperly trained to administer the BAC test. Specifically, the officer may not have waited the required 15 minutes prior to administering the test, a clean, unused mouthpiece might not have been used, or the officer might not be properly certified on the Intoxilyzer machine.

Should You Refuse Harris County Breathalyzer Tests? You may have trouble deciding whether to submit to Harris County breathalyzer tests or not. If you are unsure whether your BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) is well below the legal limit of 0.08 percent, it could potentially be better to refuse the test to avoid handing the Harris County District Attorney more evidence to use against you. It is important to remember, however, that if you have been drinking, you may not have a realistic idea of what your BAC actually is. Also remember that while 0.08 is the legal limit, a BAC of 0.06 percent or higher could fall within the machine’s “margin of error.” If you do choose to refuse Harris County Breathalyzer Tests, Harris County Field Sobriety Tests or Harris County Blood Alcohol Tests, under Texas DWI Laws your license could be automatically suspended for a period of six months, if this is your first Harris County Arrest for DWI in Texas.

If you are convicted of DWI in Texas after a refusal, you could face the license suspension for refusing the breathalyzer as well as criminal penalties. As another consideration, if the Harris County police officer has reason to believe you have lost the “normal” use of your physical or mental faculties, then a DWI in Texas case can be made—and proven—against you under that belief (even if you agreed to Harris County Breathalyzer Tests and blew below the 0.08 percent). In other words, refusing to take the test might not actually offer much benefit in the long run, however the decision is yours to make. Whatever decision you make regarding Harris County Breathalyzer Tests, the Sullo & Sullo Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers with payment plans understand your situation—both legal and financial. We offer Houston Criminal Lawyer Free Consultations, and our overriding goal is always to help you avoid Harris County Criminal Records and Harris County Jail.

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