One of the tricky things about alcohol is that it can be hard to gauge whether you are below the legal limit to get behind the wheel. You might feel perfectly capable of driving. However, you could still easily find yourself in handcuffs and facing drunk driving charges. Enter personal breathalyzer tests.
Anyone can buy a relatively inexpensive device that claims to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). While these devices may be useful for giving you a ballpark idea of your level of intoxication, if you rely on them as definitive proof of your sobriety, you may be in for a rude awakening.
Breath test machines are sensitive pieces of equipment
Whether it’s a device you keep in your pocket or is a large piece of equipment housed at the police station, breath test machines are sensitive pieces of equipment. The process of extrapolating one’s BAC from exhaled breath is no small feat. Any machine must be kept in tip-top condition to ensure accurate results.
Proper maintenance and calibration are essential to the proper performance of a breath test device. You will want to store your personal device properly. Allowing it to bank around in your coat or glove box could impact its performance. You may need to download software updates on occasion. You should also be aware that parts can fail. The way you perform the test could differ from the way an officer performs the test, throwing off your results.
Breath tests may not be all that reliable to begin with
The reliability of breath tests has come under fire in recent years. Even professional systems can result in false readings if they are not calibrated or operated by a trained professional.
You should treat a pocket-sized breath test machine as a novelty device. If you are at all questioning whether you should get behind the wheel, don’t do it. If you find yourself facing drunk driving charges, defenses are available. You should discuss your options with a skilled legal professional.