When you are pulled over under suspicion that you are responsible for an OVI, you may be asked to perform a breathalyzer test, also called a "breath alcohol test." This is a device that is meant to detect whether your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is above the legal limit. Whether or not you should agree to a breathalyzer test is complicated and depends on the state in which you reside. Regardless of your decision, if you are facing an OVI charge, you will need to consult with an OVI attorney as soon as possible.
The Downsides of Declining a Breathalyzer
When you obtain a driver's license, you must agree to the implied consent laws of your state. In most states, this will include that you must submit to a breathalyzer test. Some states even print the implied consent terms on the back of your driver's license.
If you refuse a breathalyzer test, you will face penalties even if you are not ultimately found guilty of an OVI. Most often, you will face a license suspension.
A breathalyzer test can often be very unreliable, and some drivers choose to decline the test as a result. Some machines are considered less reliable than others. Also, some police departments have a policy of taking two breathalyzer tests and using the one that has a lower BAC.
This is considered a better policy since it can weed out inaccurate test results, but some police departments have not implemented this procedure. However, if the arresting officer does not follow this procedure, you will want to speak with your OVI attorney about this issue and whether it is relevant to your case.
Issues with the Breathalyzer
The breathalyzer is not infallible and will often lead to false positives depending on what you have eaten and whether you have certain medical conditions. For example, acid reflux can cause a false positive.
The breathalyzer uses software that should be updated periodically. However, some manufacturers occasionally introduce bugs when they update breathalyzer software and this can lead to false positives.
Why You Need an OVI Lawyer
While your license may be suspended if you refuse a breathalyzer test, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony if found guilty of an OVI and you may be forced to pay fines and spend time in prison. An OVI attorney is knowledgeable of the laws of your state and is experienced at helping clients beat their OVI charges.