If your driving makes a nearby police officer suspect that you have had too much to drink, they will probably pull you over to check. A police officer will ask you a few questions and then ask you to step out of the vehicle if they think your answers or your speech patterns indicate alcohol consumption.

Once you are out of the vehicle, the police officer will likely guide you through field sobriety tests. Their interpretation of your performance could give them justification to ask for a breath test. If you know that your natural clumsiness or social anxiety is why the officer thinks you’ve had too much to drink, you might agree to do a breath test to exonerate yourself.

Many drivers react in shock when they realize the sample they provided tested at over the legal limit. All too often, drivers will plead guilty to driving under the influence (DUI) charges despite having questions about the accuracy of their tests.

Before you enter a plea, there is something you need to know.

You can challenge chemical breath test results

A surprising number of people assume that chemical breath tests are absolutely accurate. Some people put so much faith in the science of breath testing that they will start to question their own recollection of the evening leading up to their arrest. Did they really only have two drinks, or did they forget having other alcoholic beverages?

If you know you didn’t consume enough to be impaired by the alcohol, then it could be the test results and not your memories that are inaccurate. Legal professionals and researchers have long known that chemical breath tests get innocent people into trouble. These devices can return positive results or elevated results based on factors other than alcohol consumption.

Someone’s medications or medical history could make them fail a test. Improper test administration by an officer or inadequate maintenance of the testing unit by the police department could also compromise the accuracy of chemical test results. For those who worry about a conviction but know they didn’t have too much to drink, challenging the test results could be a good strategy.

A robust defense can help you avoid a criminal record

No one wants to spend their life with a criminal record increasing insurance costs and reducing their opportunities. Even nonviolent offenses like DUI charges can limit your employment and housing choices in the future.

Learning more about defense options when facing impaired driving charges can help you preserve your freedom, reputation and career.