About DWI Breath And Blood Tests
Blood tests and breath tests can be powerful evidence in a jury trial. However, the results reported from those tests are not always accurate. Breathalyzers can be calibrated incorrectly, police officers can administer the tests improperly, and poorly trained lab technicians can make critical mistakes when drawing and analyzing someone’s blood.
In DWI/DUI defense, mistakes are not acceptable. I am R. Todd Bennett, a defense lawyer board-certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. I have nearly 25 years of experience in the practice of criminal law in Texas. I have background reviewing the validity of breath and blood test results and will fight to have the charges dismissed if any errors are found in the blood or breath evidence against you. Send me an email or reach my law offices by phone at 713-489-7763 today to schedule an initial consultation.
Texas Breath Test Results
Police officers encourage individuals arrested for DWI to take a breath test on a machine operated by law enforcement officials with no independent oversight. People often ask me, “Should I take the breath test?” As with so many things in life and the law, it depends on a number of factors. Have you been drinking, how much did you have, when did you have your last drink, do you like to gamble, are you willing to bet your future on a test result that a machine spits out when the machine is not made available for scientific peer review? My years of experience have proven to me how unreliable these machines can be.
Concerns Over Reliability Of A Breath Test’s Results
The breath test machine used in Texas, the Intoxilyzer 5000, measures a beam of light that passes through a sample chamber. When alcohol is present in the sample chamber, that alcohol affects the light that passes through the chamber before it is measured at the other end. The mechanics of the machine are such that when a person blows into the machine, any alcohol in their breath will be measured based on the affect the alcohol has on the amount of light that passes through their air sample. Unfortunately, while this method seems relatively foolproof, problems arise not only with the accuracy of the alcohol measurement in the test chamber, but perhaps more importantly with how that measurement equates to the alcohol concentration in the person’s body. To further complicate matters, improper maintenance, calibration or administration of the test can yield an erroneous result.
Contrary to the rules of independent scientific testing and peer review commonly associated with the scientific process, the manufacturer of the Intoxilyzer 5000 will not release the machine or its software for independent scientific testing outside of the law enforcement community. This means that only the police and the machine’s manufacturer have truly accurate knowledge of the machine’s flaws and weaknesses.
In Houston, we have become painfully aware of how things can go wrong in police-run crime labs when their work is not subjected to oversight or verification by an independent third party. Police agencies in Harris County have refused to preserve breath test samples collected in DWI cases. If police officers truly wanted to ensure the accuracy of breath test results, why would they not preserve them for independent review by an expert in court? The Department of Public Safety and various police departments do not want to be burdened by independent testing to verify the accuracy of results.
DWI Blood Alcohol Testing In Texas
Unlike breath testing, blood test results are generally accepted as accurate when proof of their proper administration is provided. If there are any disagreements over the accuracy of blood test results, the fight lies in whether the blood was properly drawn by a qualified person who followed established procedures and protocols for blood evidence.
Get Your Defense Started After A DWI Arrest
Since beginning my private practice in 1995, I have aggressively defended hundreds of individuals accused of drinking and driving at the law firm of R. Todd Bennett, P.C. I am well-prepared to fight for you in the courtroom or at the negotiation table. Contact me today by email or by phone at 713-489-7763 to schedule an initial consultation.