The technology used to check someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) has improved over the decades since chemical testing first became commonplace. Testing devices are smaller and more reliable than they used to be, and they have also become far more affordable.
There are numerous companies that sell personal devices to check your BAC. They actually sell these to consumers to help people make safer and better choices about when they drive and how much they drink.
Will purchasing and using a pocket or individual breath test device help you avoid drunk driving charges?
Devices can give a false sense of confidence
Perhaps the biggest concern about the use of a personal breath test unit to verify if you are safe to drive or not is that you may have a false sense of confidence based on the reading that the device provides. There are several scenarios in which you could test at under the legal limit right before leaving a bar or a party and then fail a breath test during a traffic stop minutes later.
The first situation involves an inaccurate reading from your own device. Possibly due to a calibration issue or a mistake in how you perform the test, you may get an improperly low reading. It is also possible if that your BAC will continue to slowly climb if you recently finished a beverage.
In both scenarios, a device could show that you are safe to drive when actually you are not. Users need to be aware of these potential limitations and make sure that they properly maintain their devices and wait an appropriate amount of time between finishing a drink and testing themselves to avoid mistaken readings that could lead to criminal charges.
Checking your BAC can make you a better judge of your own impairment
On the positive side, a personal breath test can help you better understand your own signs of intoxication. Frequently testing yourself could help you more accurately gauge your own impairment in the future even when you do not have the testing unit available. When you associate certain sensations with specific BAC levels, you can potentially tell right away when you should let someone else drive.
Given the expense and maintenance involved, personal breath test devices are not the best solution for each individual, but they can help some people avoid mistakes. Proactively seeking to comply with the law could help you avoid impaired driving charges or start building a defense strategy after an unexpected arrest.