It is to law enforcement’s advantage to get a breath test. Generally, not yours. DWI breath tests have been a part of DWI investigation for a long time. Although blood draws and blood analysis are becoming more common and preferred, breath tests are still very common DWI evidence. If you get arrested, they will ask you to take one. In Texas, DWI breath tests are administered on the Intoxilyzer Model 5000. It sounds like a science fiction movie, I know. If you are interested in how that machine works, click here. For more on field sobriety tests, click here.
To Breathe or Not to Breathe in Fort Worth
Getting arrested for DWI does not put a person is a calm, rational state of mind. But this is exactly when they will ask you to give a breath sample. You will be at the police station. It is a big decision, no doubt about it. Unfortunately, you are all alone and you do not get to consult a lawyer before making the decision.
If you feel very confident that you are not intoxicated, it would definitely be beneficial to have a passing test. Then again, the Intoxilyzer 5000 consistently gives False and Inaccurate Readings. Cops can make it seem like it will be better or easier on you if you take it, but more often than not this is not true. In truth, they want to make it as easy as possible on the prosecution in your plea negotiations.
DWI Breath Test Process
Before conducting a DWI breath test, the operator of the machine must wait 15 minutes so that any alcohol residue in the mouth will evaporate. To be accurate, DWI breath tests should only measure air from deep in the lungs. During this 15 minute waiting period the operator must watch to make sure that the person doesn’t put anything in their mouth or regurgitate something that could affect the accuracy of the test. The test is designed to measure the amount of alcohol in the air from your lungs. The machine will correlate that the the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. Sometimes they will conduct two or more readings.
What Happens if You Say ‘Yes‘? 90-day Driver’s License Suspension
If you consent to a DWI breath test, you will be informed that your license will be suspended for 90 days. You will be informed of this in writing. This license suspension is probably happening whether you pass the breath test or not. Even if your test results come in under .08 BAC, you still be charged with DWI. They can allege that you were operating a motor vehicle without the normal use of your physical or mental faculties. Regardless, you can challenge the suspension, but you must do so within 15 days. You can read more about that process here: Administrative License Revocation.
What if You Say ‘No‘? 180-day Driver’s License Suspension
Your refusal to submit to a breath test or blood test is met with a stiff 180-day suspension of drivers’ license. Fortunately, you can always refuse a breath test. A police officer may obtain a warrant to draw your blood, but cannot get a warrant to take your breath. However, your refusal may be the right move. DWI breath tests are very controversial. There are many biological variables which contribute to inaccurate tests and false high readings.