The Truth About Breath Tests

There are many ways you can be tested for having alcohol or drugs in your system while operating a vehicle. If you are pulled over under suspicion of a DWI offense, you may be subjected to a breath test, blood test, or urine test. Breath tests are the most common test option, but do not let your familiarity with the phrase fool you. There are several important things you need to know about a chemical breath test before you agree to take one. Continue reading to find out what may surprise you about this test option. 

There Are Two Types of Breath Tests

  1. Portable Breath Test

This type of test is done during a roadside stop, and a portable handheld device is used to test you. This is usually what people mean when they use the term breathalyzer. Generally speaking, these tests are not always accurate or reliable.

2. Breath Test Following Arrest

This type of test is done at the police station after you have been arrested. This test will be more accurate than the portable breath test option at your roadside stop. Unfortunately, you cannot refuse this test without experiencing a penalty. For example, if you refuse the test at this point, you will automatically lose your license under a “chemical revocation,” which is based on Missouri’s implied consent law. 

Missouri’s Implied Consent Law

Under Section 302.574 RSMo., it states: 

When you are arrested for a driving while intoxicated offense, a police officer will ask you to submit to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content or drug level. While the state of Missouri deems you to have consented to such testing under its “implied consent” law, you may refuse to submit to the test.

However, if you refuse to take the alcohol or drug test, your Missouri driving privilege will be revoked for one year. This is known as a “Chemical Revocation”.

In other words, you can refuse a roadside test without getting in trouble. But, you cannot refuse a breath test after your arrest without losing your license. Many people make dangerous decisions to drink and drive, and they do so without understanding the law or their rights. 

What Can Sabotage My Breath Test Results?

Portable handheld breath test devices are made of fuel cell sensors. The sensors create currents when breath is blown into them, and the strength of those currents represent the amount of alcohol in a person’s body. But, the truth of these results is often debated.  Even The New York Times exposed the inaccuracy of these tests because several things can sabotage the results, for example: 

  • Toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Breath mints
  • Burping
  • The amount of breath used
  • Using an uncalibrated device
  • Medicine

Discover the truth behind breath tests

If you have received a DWI conviction, you can still challenge the results of your chemical breath test with a trusted DWI lawyer. A qualified professional understands how unreliable these test results can be and will take the time to investigate the problems surrounding your testing. 

Contact a DWI Lawyer Today

If you have been pulled over for a possible DWI, contact us today at The Shostak Law Firm, LLC to discuss your experience. We are here to help you get past intimidation tactics and make sure you are treated fairly in the court of law. Do not let the inaccuracy of a device or the faulty administering of a breath test dictate your future.

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