You enjoy the occasional night out with your friends – but you worry about accidentally imbibing too much and ending up with a charge of driving under the influence (DUI).
Could a pocket breath alcohol content (BAC) testing device save you from trouble? Maybe, but you don’t want to bet on it. Here’s why:
Don’t rely on a personal testing device
Pocket testers, also known as personal breathalyzers, are portable devices designed to measure a person’s BAC through their breath. Many are small enough to tuck into a bag, backpack or jacket without much trouble.
While convenient, they do have problems, including:
- Accuracy: The accuracy of pocket breathalyzers can be affected by a number of factors, including the quality of the device, how recently it has been calibrated and how the user operates it. Your reading, especially if you’re not super familiar with the device and are trying to use it while impaired, may not be accurate.
- Calibration: Pocket breathalyzers require regular calibration to maintain their accuracy. If a device has been bouncing around your bag or dangling from a keychain, the odds are high that it has lost some of its fine-tuning.
- False negatives: Pocket breathalyzers can give false readings, indicating a lower BAC than the user actually has. This can happen if you have recently consumed alcohol, but have not yet reached your peak BAC as your body processes what you drank.
Finally, if you think that your pocket breathalyzer’s reading could at least be used as a defense if you are charged with drunk driving, think again. It’s unlikely to be admissible in court because of all the issues listed above.
Ultimately, the only sure way to avoid a drunk driving charge is to not drink and drive. If you’re concerned about the potential for an arrest, it’s better to arrange for a ride. If you’ve already been arrested, it’s wisest to discuss all your defense options.