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Can I trust a personal Breathalyzer?

| Jul 19, 2021 | Drunk Driving

The internet is full of gadgets that say they can help you avoid trouble with the police while driving. There are things to prevent a camera from taking a clear photo of your license plate to devices that warn of speed traps to personal Breathalyzers that tell you when you can safely drive.

The only cars these items belong in are the fantasy ones you see in things like Knightrider or Back to the Future. Believing they will save you from a traffic ticket is a sure way to get one. Trusting in a consumer Breathalyzer could get you a criminal record.

What is wrong with personal breath test machines?

There are several problems with relying on a personal Breathalyzer:

  • It may read differently to the police one: Two identical machines can read slightly differently. If your device tells you it is ok to drive, the police one may disagree.
  • It is not an official police one: A court will not accept your machine reading as evidence. They will only consider the official police unit.
  • Blood alcohol content is not constant: Taking a test when you get in the car may not account for all the alcohol you have consumed. Some may not yet have worked its way into your bloodstream.
  • Breathalyzers need calibration: If you blow positive on a police test, you can challenge whether they have calibrated it. Yet, if you do not keep yours calibrated, it could also give false readings.
  • You can still be charged despite blowing negative: The police can still charge you with an offense even if you blow under the limit on their machine and yours. Even a tiny amount of alcohol can affect your ability to drive safely, especially if you add other factors such as tiredness or medication.

The surest way to avoid a DUI or DWI is not to drink and drive. However, if the police wrongly charge you, there are various defenses available.