Can You Still Fight a DUI if You Failed a Breath Test?

Posted: May 1, 2022 at 12:00 am

If you are searching “DUI lawyer near me,” you might be facing the life-altering consequences of a DUI conviction. Before building your defense case with a lawyer, it is important to understand your rights. There is a misconception that failing a breath test means you have very little chance of overcoming DUI charges. In reality, a skilled attorney in Olathe, KS can argue against the validity of the evidence against you, even if your breath test reading was positive.

Can You Still Fight a DUI if You Failed a Breath Test?

Regardless of the evidence against you, you always have the right to present a defense after you have been charged with a crime. You might be surprised to know that many people have avoided a DUI conviction even after failing a breath test. Building an argument in your defense might include showing that the officers who arrested you did not follow correct protocols, demonstrating that the test was improperly administered, or proving that a medical condition interfered with the results.

The Rules Around Consenting to a Breath Test in Kansas

Implied Consent

Until recently in Kansas, it was illegal to refuse a breath test. According to the assumption that driving is a privilege, not a right, drivers were required to consent to a breath test if they had been pulled over with due cause. While refusing the test on the side of the road was an option, declining to provide a blood, urine, or breath sample after being taken to the police station was treated as a crime.

Current Consequences for Refusing a Breath Test

While you can no longer be charged with a crime if you decide not to take the test, the current consequences include suspension of your license for up to one year and an ignition lock. Additionally, it is likely that you will be charged with a DUI based on other evidence.

What Happens If Your Result Is Positive?

When the state has a positive breath test result or other evidence of a DUI against you, two processes are set in motion. First, your license is automatically suspended for up to a year. You will be given a temporary license for 14 days, during which time you must request a special administrative hearing if you wish to appeal the license suspension. The state does not assume that you will request this meeting, and will automatically suspend your license if you do not.

Second, the state will open a criminal case against you. You will be given a trial date and the opportunity to work with a lawyer for your defense. The administrative hearing and the criminal trial are two separate events, and the results of one do not affect the other. However, a failed breath test will almost certainly be used as evidence against you in both.

How Can a DUI Lawyer Near Me Build a Case Against a Positive Breath Test Result?

The details of a DUI case are never as straightforward as they might appear at first. Having a positive breathalyzer reading against you does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. In the criminal trial, you are innocent until proven guilty. Accordingly, you have legal options that you can pursue to call the results of your breath test into question.

Showing That You Were Wrongly Arrested

Police are not allowed to pull people over and administer breath tests without due cause. If you can show that the arresting officers violated protocols when they pulled you over, your case might be discharged. For example, officers can only pull you over for weaving if your car crosses a white or yellow line. Similarly, if your Miranda rights were not read, you can argue that your arrest was done inappropriately.

Arguing That the Breath Test Was Unnecessary

According to protocol, officers are supposed to give you a field sobriety test before the breathalyzer. If the sobriety test was not given, if it was incorrectly administered, or if you passed it, you have grounds to challenge the appropriateness of the breath test.

Casting Doubt on the Administration of the Breath Test

If your lawyer can demonstrate that the breath test was not administered correctly, the evidence against you could be found unreliable. In past cases, defendants have argued that the test was given by someone who lacks experience. Other defendants have argued that their breath tests were done outside the acceptable time frame following the arrest.

Questioning the Accuracy of the Breath Test

It is important to remember that while the breath test is popularly held up as the essential piece of evidence in a DUI case, the science behind the process of collecting breath samples and reading the results is subject to human error. For example, sometimes acid reflux or other medical conditions interfer with the results. The tests are sensitive, and even something like the food caught between a person’s teeth can alter the readings.

A Successful Defense Means More Than Just Avoiding Jail Time

The Sentencing

Being convicted of a DUI carries serious consequences that can follow you around for decades. The severity of the penalties depend on how many DUIs are already on your record and what your blood alcohol reading was at the time of your arrest. The harshest penalties are applied in situations where someone was injured as a result of the DUI violation, especially if that person was a child. In addition to jail time, a conviction could incur:

  • A fine of up to $2,500
  • Temporary license suspension
  • Permanent license suspension
  • Car impoundment
  • An ignition lock on your vehicle

Living With a DUI Conviction

Not being allowed to drive can take a serious toll on your ability to get to work and fulfil family responsibilities. In addition to the official sentencing, the fact that your DUI will stay on your record for years can make life after a DUI challenging. Many people have found that it is difficult to find a new job or rent an apartment when a DUI shows up in their background check.

Defending Your Rights

A DUI conviction is truly life altering. A strong lawyer who understands the legal system and the weak points surrounding the administration of breath tests is your best defense. Even if you are convicted, a skilled lawyer can argue to reduce the severity of your sentencing.

How to Find a DUI Lawyer Near Me

The skill of your lawyer will have an enormous impact on the outcome of your DUI case. When so much is at stake, you will want to find the best representation available. When looking for a DUI lawyer, consider their track record of successfully litigating DUI cases. You should also make sure that your lawyer understands the local laws that are specific to the county where you were arrested.

Work With a DUI Lawyer in Olathe, KS

Even when it seems like there is strong evidence against you, there are always ways to build a defense. With the skill, creativity, and persuasiveness of an experienced lawyer, you stand a good chance of avoiding the consequences of a conviction, even if you failed a breath test. To get in touch with a DUI lawyer in Olathe, KS, contact Henderson Legal Defense, LLC, today.