Breath & Blood Tests in Texas DWI Cases
Challenging DWI Breath & Blood Tests
According to the Texas Transportation Code, an individual issued a driver's license has impliedly consented to the taking of a specimen of his or her breath or blood for drugs and/or alcohol when arrested for DWI or related offenses. However, this consent can be withdrawn unless they are arrested for DWI with a Child Passenger; Intoxication Manslaughter, or felony DWI, when the taking of a specimen is mandatory.
Refusals may be used as evidence, but So what!
A refusal to submit a sample of blood or breath when requested is admissible as evidence of guilt against the accused. But, so are the results which may be even more damaging than any refusal. Many Texans, given the option, refuse to submit a specimen of their breath or blood for testing because they simply don't trust the police and the government to do it safely, fairly, or correctly. They've read about unclean conditions in crime labs, mixed up evidence, and wrongful convictions. These concerns are not unfounded. And more importantly, people who refuse are regularly found not guilty by juries, perhaps more often than those who submit and "fail."
There is little incentive to voluntarily submit a sample. People who fail also have their driver's
Blood or Breath Test Results are Often Invalid
Not all "failures" however, are what they seem. Many times these tests are incorrectly administered, processed, and evaluated. Errors in testing can include:
- Lack of Compliance with Required Observation & Operating Procedures;
- Mishandling of samples;
- Contamination of samples;
- Improperly maintained equipment;
- Improperly operated equipment;
- Unqualified or untrained test administrators;
- Mishandling of the evidence;
- Loss of the evidence;
- Unaccredited or compromised laboratories;
- Out-of-date test kits;
- Sterilization issues;
- Medical issues that can affect test results;
- Improper testing procedures;
- Dishonest test interpretation;
Effectively defending a DWI involving chemical tests requires competence and confidence - an experienced attorney, familiar with the chemical testing procedures and science, who is not intimidated by a witness' credentials, the Intoxilyzer 5000 (breath test machine), or head-space gas chromatograph (used in blood tests). The competent defense of a chemical test case is a complicated business that involves obtaining and reviewing voluminous records of the lab, expert, and machines involved, as well as the procedures for operating them and handling the evidence. It may also involve retaining and working with defense experts to review and refute the state's case or retesting samples.
If you've been arrested and submitted to a blood or breath test, you should consider an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer who is knowledgeable enough to know where to look and what to look for to attack their validity.
Houston DWI Defense Lawyer
A DWI arrest is extremely serious and can result in serious penalties, including jail time, fines, community service, a suspended driver's license and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. You will also have a criminal record that may limit your job options. Hiring a knowledgeable DWI defense attorney is one of the best actions you can take to protect your future.
The Law Office of Q. Tate Williams, PC, has over a decade of criminal defense experience, including DWI cases involving chemical tests. My name is Tate and I will help you through this difficult time, including reviewing, analyzing and attacking the scientific evidence against you.
Contact a Houston DWI lawyer
at my firm if you are facing DWI charges to discuss your case and how to challenge your DWI test results.