No Minnesota driver wants to end up facing criminal charges for drunk driving, especially when the person knows that he or she was not under the influence at the time. Unfortunately, many routine traffic stops turn into DWI investigations when officers suspect that a driver may have had one too many drinks before getting behind the wheel. If this happens to you, you may understandably feel panicked.
Of course, officers may begin a DWI investigation for seemingly minor reasons. If the officer pulled you over for speeding or because you had a brake light out, he or she could start asking other questions simply because you look disheveled or have bloodshot eyes. In the event that the officer asks you to step out of the vehicle and take a breath test, you may feel as if you are out of hope.
Hope still exists
Even if an officer requests a breath test and you submit to it, it does not mean you are guilty. Even if the breath test results show a blood alcohol concentration level above the legal limit, it is not an open and shut case. Though an officer may use that test reading as probable cause to arrest you for DWI, you could fight those test results in court.
The reason for fighting the results is that roadside breath tests are notoriously unreliable. A variety of factors not relating to actual intoxication could lead to a high test result, including the following factors:
- Health conditions, such as diabetes or specific diets that lead to high acetone levels, which can skew breath test results
- The food you ate before taking the test, such as certain breads, which could increase breath test BAC results in some cases
- Fumes in the environment where the test occurs and that were in the environment before you took the test, such as paint fumes, gasoline, cleaning products and more
- The temperature at which one performs the test
- User error on the part of the officer due to lack of training
- The test machine not having proper calibration or experiencing other malfunctions
If this list shows you how unreliable roadside breath tests are, you may want to keep in mind that this list does not show every issue that could arise with these tests and lead to an inaccurate result. If you do find yourself under arrest for DWI and the officer used the results of a breath test as probable cause for that arrest, you may want to look into your options for challenging that result in court.