As technology ages, it becomes cheaper and more practical for the average citizen to own. Such is the case with breathalyzers, which can now be purchased at a variety of locations for anywhere from $15 to a few hundred dollars. While some people purchase these devices hoping to compete for the highest BAC at a party (a dangerous game that can easily lead to alcohol poisoning), others purchase these home breathalyzers hoping to better obey the law by ensuring they never drive with a BAC above 0.08%. But is this a good strategy? Will testing yourself with a home breathalyzer help you avoid a DUI? Here’s what you should know.
Quality Matters and Price Points Correspond
First, it’s important to note that even the best of these devices are not professional quality and your DUI attorney cannot use a reading from one of these devices as evidence in court, other than to demonstrate that you were trying to be a safe driver. The different price ranges on these items testify to the accuracy of the devices themselves. If you buy a $15 breathalyzer test, it probably won’t be very accurate. And don’t ever believe a breathalyzer test that comes as an app on your phone or tablet. If you’re hoping a home breathalyzer will help you avoid a DUI, at least buy a quality one.
So Can a Home Breathalyzer Help You Avoid a DUI?
Assuming you buy a top-of-the-line home breathalyzer test that has been approved by the FDA though, it could, potentially help you avoid driving while over the legal BAC limit and needing the services of a DUI lawyer. But there are a few things you need to keep in mind. For example, even if you take one test and are under the legal limit, you should still wait another hour and ensure you are under the limit because the rate the body metabolizes alcohol could mean it hadn’t entered your blood stream at the time of your first test.
Of course, even waiting one hour is not exact because everyone absorbs and eliminates alcohol at a different rate. Also, breathalyzers, even the ones used by the police, need to be re-calibrated from time to time (which can sometimes provide a fair reason for your lawyer to challenge the DUI evidence), so if your settings are off, you will not get an accurate reading.
Don’t Rely on a Home Breathalyzer
The biggest problem though, is that no breathalyzer is 100% accurate, so you could easily test under the legal limit on your home device and then fail a breathalyzer test at a police station later on. Additionally, you can still get a DUI for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs even if you pass a breathalyzer test. So if you test at 0.07%, you could still be charged with a DUI if the officer believes that the alcohol in your system impacted your ability to drive. While this charge could easily be knocked down to a wet reckless, it would still end up costing you time and money.
The bottom line is that you should avoid driving if you feel the influence of alcohol, but a home breathalyzer test can help you double check if your BAC is over the legal limit. If you still are charged with drunk driving though, please contact DUI attorney peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to fight the charges.
Creative Commons Image by Gaby AV