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Breath test results may be disputed

Texas motorists who are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol are often asked to submit to a breath test by a police officer. Though the results of a breath test are usually important evidence in a drunk driving case, passing or failing it does not guarantee a certain result in court.

A driver who takes a breath test that measures at least .08 percent blood alcohol content will likely be charged with DUI. However, people will still have the opportunity to dispute the results by arguing that the BAC reading was elevated by alcohol that was trapped in their mouth or esophagus. Mouthwash, breath mints, dental work and gastric reflux can all cause false breath test readings.

When a breath test result shows that a driver's BAC was below the legal limit, drunk driving charges might still be issued. Prosecutors will have an opportunity to show other evidence of a driver's level of intoxication and argue that a low BAC reading was false. In some cases, prosecutors will argue that there was a significant delay in administering a breath test that accounted for a declining BAC level. If the driver admitted to drinking alcohol or displayed physical signs of impairment, this evidence may be submitted in place of a high BAC reading.

No measure of alcohol impairment is a perfect science, so a DUI defendant may have many ways to dispute the charges. A DUI defense attorney may be able to help a DUI defendant to argue that evidence from a breath test, blood test or field sobriety test was tainted by non-alcohol related factors. In other cases, the calibration of the machine at the time of the test could be the subject of a challenge.

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