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Does a failed breath test ensure a Missouri DWI conviction?

On Behalf of | May 16, 2023 | Drunk Driving

Police officers in Missouri need evidence before they can arrest someone based on accusations that they committed a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense. Sometimes, officers will have dashboard camera footage of someone swerving all over the road. Other times, it may be body camera footage of someone’s answers to an officer’s question and their performance on a field sobriety test that builds the state’s case against them.

However, many people and up accused of a DWI offense because there are claims that they failed a breath test. Does someone performing a breath test that shows they are over the legal limit always lead to a DWI conviction?

Alcohol tests are notoriously unreliable

Although people often talk about chemical breath testing as though it were the gold standard of criminal evidence, there is actually plenty of reason for those facing a DWI charge to be skeptical about the results of a breath test.

Especially when someone knows that they were not under the influence at all or that they didn’t have enough to drink to put them over the legal limit, they may recognize that the test results came back very wrong for some reason. Numerous factors, ranging from the medical conditions of the individual performing the test to small mistakes by the police officer administering it could compromise the accuracy of the test results.

Although someone who knows they failed a breath test may feel as though they have very few options, the truth is that some people can and do avoid conviction by challenging the accuracy of the test results in their specific case or even the science of chemical breath testing in general. There are also certain scenarios in which drivers can ask the state to exclude test results from their criminal case because of something inappropriate about the interaction they had with police.

Although people often feel hopeless after a DWI arrest in Missouri, a noteworthy number of people facing such charges are able to successfully defend against these charges. Seeking legal guidance to better understand how a defense is possible even when facing accusations of drunk driving may help someone fight back and avoid a conviction.