Should I Give a Breath Test During a DWI Investigation?

Law enforcement is continually on the lookout for people driving while under the influence of alcohol, particularly during the holidays. Seeing flashing red and blue lights and being asked to walk in a straight line are events that may characterize a DWI investigation. Law enforcement often relies upon a breathalyzer test to prove intoxication. However, recent reports suggest these tests might overestimate your intoxication level.

A breathalyzer is a device used in DWI investigations. People who have been pulled over are asked to blow into the breathalyzer to determine the alcohol content of their breath, and consequently, their blood. If the result is a level of .08 or higher, it is presumed that the person is impaired by alcohol.

Breathalyzer Failings

Breathalyzer tests have been a topic of controversy recently. This is due to the fact that their results are inaccurate, at times. The devices often produce slanted outcomes, despite the many claims of accuracy and precision. More often than not, human error is to blame for the test’s accuracy failure. The results of the breath test may average about 40% too high, leading to both false arrests and wrongful convictions. Whoever administers the test must have comprehensive training and knowledge of the device’s use to ensure adequate test administration and results.

Issues surrounding the accuracy and precision of breath tests are growing. Yet, police officers still rely on these machines to provide proof of intoxication. Hiring a seasoned DWI defense attorney who has experience defending breathalyzer test cases may increase your chances of you fighting against these inaccuracies successfully in court. Be aware—not all criminal defense attorneys have the specific qualifications and experience needed for DWI Defense. Having this knowledge and experience is crucial because there are substantial penalties for a DWI conviction. Despite the common misconception, defense attorneys can and do win DWI breathalyzer cases.

Being Pulled Over For Driving While Intoxicated

If you are pulled over and may be evaluated for DWI, be as polite as possible to the police. Be courteous and answer questions when asked, but do not volunteer any additional information. Do not freely give away information that may incriminate you. Additionally, you are NOT required to respond to questions about the amount you drank, submit to any field sobriety tests, and it is not unlawful to refuse a breath test. If law enforcement believes you are drunk, they can and will arrest you, whether you’ve taken a breathalyzer test or not. 

If you refuse a breathalyzer test, you will likely have your driver’s license suspended. And while the pressure to take the test may seem intimidating, your circumstances may be more so. Losing your driver’s license for a time is preferable to spending time in jail. Plus, if you hire a DWI defense attorney and act quickly, it might be possible to get a temporary hardship license to cover the suspension. It’s important to note that if you have refused a breath test during a DWI investigation in the past, and refuse a second time, you may be charged with an additional crime.

Your DWI defense attorney can discuss your options with you. Be sure to contact a lawyer in your local area as soon as possible after you’ve been charged with DWI.