For many people, Breathalyzer results can seem like the end-all-be-all when it comes to drunk driving. If you blow over the legal limit, there is a higher probability that you will be convicted. But blowing under the legal limit? Surely this equals a "get out of jail free" card, so to speak. Unfortunately, things aren't always as black and white as they appear.
Over the years, research has shown that breathalyzer machines may not be as faultless as once assumed. Despite these clear indicators, law enforcement continues to rely on often faulty technology to arrest hundreds of people on a regular basis. So when it comes down to it, just because you blow under the state's legal limit, it doesn't necessarily mean the police officer is going to let you go.
How Breathalyzer Test Results Influence Your Case
Texas law states that blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.08 percent is considered impaired. For individuals under 21, the threshold is 0.01 percent. A driver can actually reach 0.08 percent quicker than they might think and even if you don't feel impaired, your BAC may tell a different story.
If an officer pulls a driver over because they suspect drunk driving, their first inclination is usually to talk to the individual. Doing so allows the officer to evaluate indicators of alcohol consumption, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and belligerent behavior. These warning signs can prompt the officer to then request you to perform Standard Field Sobriety tests and then a Breathalyzer test.
Numerous factors can influence these tests. Muscle mass, food consumption, and even the way the person exhales can all be cause for an erroneous reading. Even so, law enforcement usually fails to take these factors into account.
Field sobriety tests are extremely subjective and a driver can fail if the officer is already operating under the assumption that they've been drinking. Therefore, "failed" field sobriety tests and physical indicators of alcohol consumption may be enough to arrest a driver for drunk driving.
Whether you'll be convicted or not depends upon the legal representation you obtain. A skilled attorney can challenge the evidence against you and prove to the jury that you are not guilty of drunk driving. Without question, the importance of choosing an experienced Fort Worth DUI lawyer cannot be overestimated.
As the founder and lead attorney of The Law Office of Samuel R. Terry, I have helped countless individuals successfully fight their DUI charges and would be honored to do the same for you. Call my firm today for your free, no-obligation consultation to get started.