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Can Personal Breathalyzers Prevent DUI?

In many instances, individuals accused of driving under the influence are unaware of what their blood alcohol content is. Some people may not feel intoxicated at all when getting behind the wheel, even though their BAC is well over the legal limit. Not only that, but there is really no one-size-fits-all way to determine BAC, as it can fluctuate with the type, amount, and speed at which alcohol was consumed, as well as a person's body size and any food they ate. If there was a way to accurately and easily test BAC, it would seem that many drivers would avoid getting behind the wheel with this knowledge.

Pros & Cons of Personal Breathalyzers & Tests

One of the trends gaining speed in response to this concern is the use of personal breathalyzer devices or sobriety tests for consumers. Some of these are one-time use devices, and others are multi-use, connected through an app on an individual's cell phone. For example, popular smartphone apps require the user to solve puzzles, answer questions, and react in a certain amount of time to determine their sobriety.

However, the quality of breathalyzers will play a significant role in their reliability. While some are cheap and can be attached to keychains, others are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are similar to those used by law enforcement. Like police breathalyzers, these require constant upkeep and calibration. Failure to do so can result in a false BAC reading, which may be misleading for a driver.

So are personal breathalyzers the key in preventing a DUI arrest? Yes and no. Personal breathalyzers can be a great gauge in determining intoxication and may prevent a driver from getting behind the wheel when they know that have consumed a little too much alcohol. However, these devices cannot be used as evidence to argue your level of impairment. Further, they are not 100% accurate and should not be used as something you rely on to determine whether or not you should drive.

The only BAC reading admissible in court is that taken by law enforcement following an arrest. Furthermore, a BAC under 0.08% does not guarantee you won't be charged with DUI. Any level of impairment result in criminal charges.