Over the holiday season, many Texas law enforcement agencies increased their DUI patrols, especially on New Year’s Eve. If you were a driver charged with a DWI, you may not know that if you only took a breath test to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC), it may not be as accurate as you think.

In fact, a recent New York Times report noted that many DWI and DUI breath tests are inaccurate. As a result, in 2018 and 2019, judges in Massachusetts and New Jersey threw out the results of 30,000 breath tests. Other research shows that breath tests inaccurately measure blood alcohol levels by up to 50%. That means a .1 BAC can read anywhere between .05 and .15, making a big difference if a driver ends up being charged with a DWI.

Blood tests for alcohol levels are much more accurate though. However, they don’t always happen if a driver completes a breath test that shows .08 or higher BAC.

Why breath tests are inaccurate

Some of the reasons why breath tests are inaccurate include the following:

  • The breath tests aren’t properly administered by law enforcement.
  • The breath tests machines aren’t properly calibrated.
  • The breath tests machines aren’t properly maintained or serviced.
  • The breath test machine has a software problem that hasn’t been fixed.

What drivers can do

So, for those who end up being pulled over for a DUI, you can request a breath and blood test for your alcohol levels. Of course, those results could lead to you being charged with DWI and will be used as evidence against you.

If you are charged with a DWI after only a breath test, consult an experienced criminal law attorney. An attorney can help you investigate if your test was not administered properly or if the machine was faulty. In some cases, DUI charges are dismissed when breath test evidence is shown to be unreliable.

A DUI conviction can lead to license suspension, jail time, hefty fines, increased insurance premiums and becomes part of your permanent criminal record. It’s always better to consult an attorney about how you can get the charges reduced or dismissed rather than trust that a breath test was accurate.