Facing a DWI/DUI* charge in North Carolina can be a daunting experience, particularly when your case involves a breathalyzer result that indicates you were over the legal limit. The good news is that breathalyzer test results are not infallible. Going on your own without experience is not the best idea.

Your best bet is to use the expertise of a DUI/DWI lawyer in Raleigh NC. Challenging your breathalyzer results in North Carolina, is complex in DWI cases but can make a significant difference in the outcome.

A DWI lawyer brings a wealth of knowledge not only in the law but in the science behind DWI charges. They understand the technical aspects of breathalyzer tests, including how they work, potential sources of error, and the standards for maintenance and calibration. This expertise is crucial for identifying weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.

Understanding Breathalyzer Tests

Breathalyzer tests are commonly used by law enforcement in North Carolina to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC). While they are a key tool in DWI arrests, they are not without their flaws. Factors such as calibration errors, improper administration, and physiological differences can all impact the accuracy of the results.

Challenges of Breathalyzer Results

  • Maintenance logs
  • Wake County maintains these logs and your attorney can access them with a subpoena. They are allowed to review up to 30 tests administered before and after your test, looking for signs that the machine may not be working properly.
  • Medical conditions
  • Your attorney can challenge the validity of the breathalyzer test if you have a medical condition that may mimic the effects of impairment. Let your DUI attorney know of anything medically related about your health.
  • Improper calibration or maintenance
  • Breath and blood tests can produce inaccurate results if the equipment is not properly calibrated or maintained.
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Additional reasons a DWI case may be dismissed

  • The officer doesn’t have legal suspicion to pull the driver over.
  • The officer doesn’t ask about medical conditions that may affect the test.

The Role of a DWI/DUI Lawyer

1. Evidence Review

One of the first steps taken is to thoroughly review all the evidence against you, including the breathalyzer test results. The lawyer will request maintenance records for the breathalyzer used, the training records of the officer who administered the test, and the test’s administration procedure to identify any deviations from standard protocols.

2. Challenging the Results

Armed with knowledge and evidence, your DWI lawyer can challenge the breathalyzer results on several fronts. If the device was not properly calibrated or maintained, or if the test was improperly administered, these factors can significantly undermine the reliability of the results. Your lawyer might also consider physiological or environmental factors that could have skewed the results, such as certain medical conditions or the presence of specific chemicals that can interfere with the test.

4. Negotiating with Prosecutors

Even if the breathalyzer results cannot be entirely dismissed, a skilled DWI lawyer can use any doubts about the accuracy of the results as leverage in negotiations with prosecutors. This could result in reduced charges or even a dismissal, depending on the circumstances of your case.

5. Trial Representation

Should your case go to trial, a DWI lawyer is invaluable in presenting the complexities of breathalyzer tests to a jury. They can explain the potential for error in a way that is understandable, casting doubt on the reliability of the evidence against you.

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The role of a DWI lawyer in challenging breathalyzer results in North Carolina is to scrutinize the prosecution’s evidence, identify weaknesses, and argue for a fair outcome based on the realities of breathalyzer test inaccuracies. If you find yourself in this situation, securing experienced legal representation should be your first step. Remember, a charge is not a conviction, and with the right lawyer, you can navigate the complexities of your case with confidence.


* North Carolina law officially recognizes this offense as “Driving While Impaired” or DWI. Other areas may refer to this as “Driving Under the Influence” or a DUI.  It is found as NCGS 20‑138.1.