If you love craft beer or a perfect martini, there is nothing wrong with indulging your tastes a few times a week. When consumed responsibly, alcohol can be a social lubricant and a source of personal pleasure.
However, frequent alcohol use, especially at businesses, might increase your chances of getting arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) offense. You may find it hard to gauge your own impairment. To some people, investing in a personal breath test device might seem like a smart decision. Some bars and restaurants have public breath-testing devices that you can pay for to check yourself before leaving.
Rather than using a device blown into by countless other people, carrying a small breath test in your own pocket might seem like a common-sense way to make sure it is safe for you to drive home after a trip to the bar. Unfortunately, personal breath test devices can cause real issues for some drivers.
Your device may not be reliable enough
There have absolutely been cases of people who have performed a breath test using their own devices and determined that they were sober enough to drive, only to get pulled over on the way home and fail a breath test administered by a police officer. There are two reasons why this exact situation could occur with even the most diligent individual.
One is that the personal breath test unit produces an inaccurate result. Possibly because of a calibration issue or out-of-date software, the unit may not provide a reliable result when you use it before getting in your car.
The other reason is the lag in your metabolism. Depending on when you finish your drink, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) may continue to creep up after you perform the test. Your BAC could increase during your drive home, meaning that you could fail a test when pulled over later. Breath test units can be useful to gauge yourself or others, but they do not inherently protect you from a possible arrest.
Your personal unit could play a role in your defense
If you find yourself in the awkward position of facing a DUI arrest after performing your own test to check your BAC, the record of your breath test could potentially play a role in your defense. Your choice to perform the test shows a diligent effort to comply with the law, and records that show you were under the legal limit could show you believed you were not violating the law when you got behind the wheel.
Learning more about how the state approaches DUI charges could help you avoid an arrest or plan for your defense.