Accuracy is Everything: Why You Need a DWI Attorney When Every Breath Counts

Posted On February 15, 2024 Charles Ramsay

When the state decides to criminalize a specific blood alcohol concentration (0.08%), it becomes crucial that those measurements are accurate. 

Think about it: The legislature has decided to criminalize a number, not necessarily impairment. 

Many of my clients are pulled over for having a taillight out or expired tabs, NOT for driving erratically. But, the officer smells alcohol on their breath, gives them a breath or blood alcohol test, and their numbers are over the legal limit. 

This seemingly straightforward approach to DWI introduces a crucial element: the absolute necessity of accurate BAC measurements.

Under per se laws, where the state criminalizes a specific BAC number, even a slight miscalculation by the state’s machines can have life-altering consequences. 

Imagine facing:

  • Driver's license suspension or revocation: This can severely impact your daily life, making it difficult to get to work, school, or essential appointments.
  • Steep fines: The financial burden of a DWI conviction can be significant, adding to the stress and hardship.
  • Families torn apart: The stress and financial hardship can devastate family life.
  • Jail time: Depending on the severity of the case and your BAC level, you could face imprisonment, further disrupting your life and potentially jeopardizing your employment.
  • Increased insurance rates: DWIs often increase insurance premiums, adding to the ongoing financial strain.
  • Damage to your reputation: A DWI conviction can cast a long shadow, impacting your personal and professional life.
  • Inability to get life insurance: some insurance agencies will refuse to give life insurance to a person with a DWI.

Given the significant stakes involved, you cannot afford to leave the accuracy of your BAC measurements to chance. Breath machines, the most common test for BAC, are susceptible to various factors that can lead to inaccurate readings, including:

  • Malfunction: Faulty devices can produce unreliable results.
  • Improper calibration: If not calibrated properly, breath machines can give inaccurate readings.
  • Environmental factors: Temperature, volume, humidity, and even certain medical conditions can impact readings.

While blood tests offer greater accuracy, they are more invasive and may not always be readily available. And blood tests come with their own set of problems that we’ve written about on this blog.

This is where a skilled DWI attorney becomes your crucial ally. They understand the complexities of per se laws and the importance of meticulously scrutinizing BAC measurements. Your attorney can:

  • Challenge the accuracy of breathalyzer readings: They can investigate potential issues with the device, calibration records, and environmental factors that may have influenced the results.
  • Explore alternative defenses: Depending on the circumstances, your attorney might uncover potential issues with the stop itself, mitigating factors, or other legal arguments that could weaken the prosecution's case.
  • Protect your rights throughout the process: An experienced attorney ensures your rights are upheld at every stage, from initial interactions with law enforcement to court proceedings.

Remember, every tenth of a percent matters. 

Don't let a potentially inaccurate BAC measurement dictate your future. If you're facing a DWI charge, contact Ramsay Law immediately. 

At Ramsay Law, we have the only lawyer in Minnesota who has been board-certified in DWI defense (recognized by the American Bar Association, not the MSBA). 

We know the science behind the state’s BAC testing, and we work with individuals and private firms to give you the best defense. 

Don't blow your case. Call us today. 651-604-0000.