You may not have much say in whether or not a police officer can put you through screening if they suspect you of drinking and driving, but a failed test doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to lose a court case.

Iowa has a policy of implied consent when it comes to operating a motor vehicle. If a police officer suspects that you’ve been drinking, the fact that you’re driving a car means that you agree to chemical testing. It’s up to the officer which test to administer, with either blood, breath or urine. The results may come back outside of the legal limits, but that doesn’t always mean that an operating while under the influence (OWI) conviction is a sure thing.

Testing the levels

Chemical tests can come up short, even after a failed result:

  • Testing process: The testing needs to be done along with state guidelines. Administering the test incorrectly, mishandling the results or falling outside of testing windows can all lead to a chemical test coming under suspicion. This means one of the strongest pieces of evidence against you may be inadmissible.
  • Faulty equipment: The police can use a number of machines to test the presence of alcohol in your body, but those machines need to live up to certain standards. The piece will need to be up-to-date, properly calibrated and working correctly to produce reliable results. Anything short of this could call the test into questions.
  • Invalid stop: The police need a valid reason to stop and test you in the first place. Your fourth amendment rights protect you from unlawful search and seizure. Even if you fail a screening, the test may be inadmissible if there wasn’t a valid reason for the police to stop you.

A failed test can weigh heavily in the evidence column, but only if it meets the grade. Make sure you know the many ways that a chemical test can come up short, and you may know how to approach incoming charges.