The state of Texas, like the rest of the nation, utilizes chemical testing when measuring blood alcohol concentration. Out of all three tests, breathalyzers or breath analysis is the most commonly used among law enforcement. These tests are administered by officers to drivers they suspect may be under the influence of drugs and/or alcoholic beverages. Although the test is based in science, it does have some flaws that can produce faulty or skewed results.
If you or someone you know has been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or refused a breathalyzer test, then it’s within your best interest to call an experienced Houston DUI defense lawyer. A skilled and experienced lawyer can assess your charges and challenge your breathalyzer test results by calling upon scientific experts and evidence. Exercise your right to stay silent and don’t speak a word to law enforcement. Instead call a knowledgeable attorney today at The Benken Law Firm.
Houston DWI Breathalyzer Attorney | Harris County, Texas
Breathalyzer testing may be a scientific process, but that doesn’t mean it’s accurate 100% of the time. Unfortunately, many people have undergone breathalyzer testing and received faulty or skewed results due to external factors. They are then charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) despite the fact the results of the breathalyzer were inaccurate. That is why if you or someone you know has failed a breathalyzer test, it’s within your best interest to call The Benken Law Firm.
Brian Benken of The Benken Law Firm has defended individuals accused of crimes since 1991. He has decades of experience he can utilize for your case and has worked years to build a reputation of being an aggressive and respected force in the courtroom. Call Attorney Benken today at (713) 223 - 4051 to set up your first consultation up free today.
The Benken Law Firm is based in Houston, and accepts clients throughout all parts of Texas and Harris County including Westchase, Houston Heights, River Oaks, and Midtown.
- What Does a Breathalyzer Calculate?
- What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?
- How to Pass a Breathalyzer Test
- Additional Resources
What Does a Breathalyzer Measure?
Breathalyzers and/or intoxilyzers are a type of chemical testing that calculates a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) using a breath sample. The instrument is composed of two glass vials, which contain a mixture of chemicals. The chemicals include a system of photocells that are connected to a meter and then that meter calculates any changes that may occur in the chemical mixture due to a reaction.
How it works is first the individual suspected of driving under the influence must submit a breath sample. The sample is blown into the device and processed through a mixture of chemicals contained in the two vials. The mixture of chemicals consists of sulfuric acid, silver nitrate, dichromate, potassium, and lastly water.
If the mixture changes color from a maroon orange to a green after the sample is taken, then that means some ethanol was detected in the sample. Ethanol is a major component of alcohol, and therefore law enforcement will take that as a sign of intoxication.
Law enforcement must compare the tested reacted mixture with an uncreated control. After comparing the two, officers should be able to calculate a blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
If You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Texas
You may be under the impression you must comply with DWI chemical testing (including breathalyzer tests) if you’re pulled over by an officer. The truth is you aren’t legally obligated to comply with breathalyzer testing or any type of DWI chemical test. However, if you do refuse to undergo chemical testing, you will face an administrative penalty for doing so.
In Texas, denying a breathalyzer or any DWI chemical test is a violation of implied consent laws. These laws state a person who uses Texas public roads and/or freeways are implicitly giving their consent to comply with chemical testing by law enforcement. Any refusal of testing under the Texas Penal Code will result in an automatic administrative license suspension by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
If you refuse chemical testing, your license will automatically be suspended for up to 180 days. The DPS will enhance the license suspension to up to two years if you have a prior refusal.
It’s important to understand law enforcement don’t need BAC results to arrest you of DWI. Law enforcement are permitted to arrest an individual on the basis of DWI per se if they have reasonable suspicion that person’s mental and physical faculties are impaired by drugs/alcohol to the point that person is unable to drive safely. Essentially, if officers have reasonable suspicion that you’re too inebriated to drive, they can still arrest you for DWI even if you refuse their request to undergo a breathalyzer test.
Even if you comply with testing, your license could still be suspended. A failed breathalyzer test will also yield an administrative suspension for up to 90 days. If you’ve been previously suspended for failing or refusing a breathalyzer test, then the suspension will be 12 months.
How to Pass a Breathalyzer Test
Despite wishing we could, there’s no foolproof way to “pass” a breathalyzer test. In fact, the test is already faulty in some areas so it will sometimes create false or skewed results. Instead of trying to “pass” a breathalyzer test, we would suggest you refuse one altogether.
Although a license suspension is a huge hassle, it’s much better than a DWI conviction. Most attorneys would recommend you refuse a breathalyzer test despite implied consent laws or the possibility of being charged with a DUI per se. If you refuse testing, it will be much more difficult for the prosecution to convict you of DWI. They will have no scientific evidence of your inebriation and will instead only have to rely on subjective testimony from eyewitnesses and your arresting officer.
Plus, there’s still options for you to maintain your driving privileges even if you’ve violated implied consent laws. Texas allows individuals who have violated these laws a chance to challenge the suspension with an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing. At the hearing you and your attorney can present evidence as to contest the suspension. They may even grant you a restricted license, that way you can drive for essential trips including commutes to school, work, and childcare.
However, it’s important you act fact. You only have 15 days to file for an administrative license revocation hearing. Any requests past that deadline will be considered void by DPS.
Texas Breathalyzer Manual – Visit the official website of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to learn more about breathalyzers and intoxilyzers. Access the document to learn the history, procedures to test, and required maintenance for the device.
Texas Implied Consent Laws – Visit the official website of Texas Penal Code to access the statutes surrounding implied consent laws and driving while intoxicated. Access the statute to learn more about the penalties for refusing chemical testing, what happens if someone is incapable of refusing, and information the officer must obtain from the stop.
Harris County DWI Defense Lawyer for Breathalyzers | Houston, TX
If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI, then it’s within your best interest to call criminal defense attorney Brian Benken of The Benken Law Firm. He’s a skilled attorney who can assess your breath analysis results for errors and defend you, whether it’s in front of a criminal or administrative judge. He’s helped hundreds of people avoid serious penalties and maintain their driving privileges, and can do the same for you and your DWI charges.
Call The Benken Law Firm at (713) 223 - 4051 to set up your first consultation. The Benken Law Firm is based in the Harris County and Houston area. However, we serve clients in all parts of Texas.