Wisconsin has established blood alcohol content (BAC) levels for drivers: .08% for drivers over 21, .04% for drivers operating a commercial vehicles at the time of arrest, and .00% for drivers under the age of 21. If a breath test shows that you are over the limit, you can be charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI).
Many people who fail the breath test believe that fighting their charge is impossible; however, successfully challenging your BAC reading may be possible with a qualified OWI defense lawyer on your side. Your attorney can work with an expert witness who will evaluate your tests results and determine if there were any factors that could have affected your reading.
Wisconsin law enforcement agencies use the Intoximeter EC/IR II to determine BAC. Basically, the machine will analyze exhaled breath to measure the amount of ethanol in the sample. Once this number has been measured, the machine will calculate the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream.
Unfortunately, the breath test’s measurements are not always right. For example, the machine can mistakenly read alcohol from the mouth as alcohol from the exhaled breath. This can happen if a person has dental work that traps food and alcohol in the mouth.
The breath test must also be administered correctly to ensure that the BAC reading is correct. If the officer does not observe you for a 20-minute period before having you blow into the machine, or he or she does not get a proper breath sample from you, the results of the test could be skewed.
There are also a number of medical conditions that can affect your test. Hypoglycemia, diabetes, and even low-carb diets could result in ketosis, which produces compounds that could be read by the machine as ethanol.
As you can see, there are a number of problems that could cause an inflated breath test reading. Even radio frequency from the police scanners could interfere with the Intoximeter EC/IR II device. For this reason, you shouldn’t plead guilty to your OWI charge without first speaking to an attorney who has experience with drunk-driving defense.
For a case evaluation with one of our dedicated OWI lawyers, please contact Tracey Wood & Associates today by completing our online form.