DWI Defense Strategies: Challenging Breathalyzer & Field Sobriety Tests

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges can have serious consequences on your life, affecting your freedom, finances, and future. One of the most important aspects of a DWI case is the evidence against you, which often includes breathalyzer and field sobriety test results. Challenging the accuracy and reliability of these tests can be crucial to your defense. 

Are Breathalyzer Tests Accurate?

One of the most common ways to challenge a DWI charge is by questioning the accuracy of the Breathalyzer test. Breathalyzer devices can sometimes produce inaccurate results due to a variety of factors, such as:

  • Improper calibration or maintenance of the device
  • Interference from external factors, such as radio frequency or environmental conditions
  • Medical conditions that can affect the results, such as acid reflux or diabetes
  • Use of certain medications or products, such as mouthwash or inhalers

By presenting evidence that the breath test results may be inaccurate, you may be able to cast doubt on the prosecution's case and potentially have the charges reduced or dismissed.

Challenge the Officer's Observations During the Field Sobriety Test

Field sobriety tests are often used by law enforcement officers to determine if a driver is impaired. However, these tests are subjective and can be influenced by factors such as:

  • The officer's training and experience in administering the tests
  • The driver's physical condition, such as fatigue or injury
  • Environmental conditions, such as poor lighting or uneven surfaces

By challenging the officer's observations and the conditions under which the field sobriety test was administered, you may be able to raise doubts about the reliability of the test results. Field sobriety tests can be prone to error, making it essential to scrutinize the test results in your DWI defense.

Did the Officer Lack Reasonable Suspicion for the Stop?

Law enforcement officers must have reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle and conduct a DWI investigation. If the officer lacked reasonable suspicion to initiate the stop, any evidence obtained during the stop, including breathalyzer and field sobriety test results, may be suppressed. Examples of reasonable suspicion may include erratic driving, traffic violations, or information from a reliable informant.

Challenge the Officer's Training & Qualifications

Another defense strategy is to challenge the officer's training and qualifications to administer the breathalyzer and field sobriety tests. Officers must be properly trained and certified to conduct these tests, and any deviation from the required training and protocols can be grounds for challenging the test results. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines outline the proper procedures for administering these tests, and any failure to adhere to these guidelines can be used to challenge the test results.

Present Alternative Explanations for the Test Results

Finally, presenting alternative explanations for the test results can be an effective defense strategy. For example, you may be able to argue that your poor performance on the field sobriety test was due to factors unrelated to alcohol consumption, such as fatigue, illness, or physical limitations. Similarly, your attorney may be able to present evidence that your breathalyzer test results were affected by factors other than alcohol, such as medication or medical conditions.

At Precht Law Firm, our experienced DWI defense attorneys understand the importance of challenging breathalyzer and field sobriety test results in DWI cases. We are committed to providing our clients with the aggressive and knowledgeable representation they need to protect their rights and fight for the best possible outcome. If you are facing DWI charges, contact us today to discuss your case and learn more about our DWI defense strategies.