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The role of breathalyzers in OWI cases

You can face charges for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) in Indiana if your breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is at least .08%. To measure this, law enforcement officers can use chemical tests during a traffic stop. One such chemical test is the breath alcohol test, more popularly known as the breathalyzer test.

There are rules regarding the breathalyzer test procedure. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these regulations should an officer pull you over for a suspected OWI.

Breathalyzer rights and implied consent

Like other U.S. states, Indiana has an implied consent law, which means any person driving over state roads automatically consents to submit to chemical testing. Although you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test, refusal can lead to a mandatory suspension of driving privileges and can be used as evidence against you in court.

The impact of breathalyzer results

A positive breathalyzer test can lead to an arrest and OWI charges. Indiana’s penalties for OWI can be severe, including fines, jail time, and license suspension. The specific consequences vary depending on factors such as previous offenses and the level of BAC.

However, breathalyzer results aren’t infallible.

Breathalyzer accuracy

Although breathalyzers are generally accurate, several factors can skew their results. For instance, the following non-liquor products can trigger a false positive:

  • Residual alcohol from products like mouthwash and oral hygiene products
  • Medications and prescription drugs
  • Certain foods and drinks like bread and energy drinks

Other factors that can affect a breathalyzer include:

  • The temperature and humidity during the test
  • Biological differences in how a person’s body tolerates alcohol
  • Whether the officer properly calibrated the breathalyzer device

A positive breathalyzer test can lead to an arrest and OWI charges. But for a breathalyzer result to be admissible in court, the state must prove that an officer properly administered the test and that the device was functioning correctly. If you’re facing an OWI charge in Indiana over a positive breath test result, you’ll need guidance. A legal professional may be able to help you navigate the complexities of your case and argue on your behalf if you believe there are inconsistencies in the test.