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Can carrying a personal breath test eliminate DWI risk?

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Dwi Defense |

Many people get arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses because they didn’t know they were over the legal limit when they got behind the wheel. While people are often familiar with the laws regulating their blood alcohol concentration (BAC), they may not be able to accurately perceive when they reach that limit.

Every human body is unique, and a 0.08% BAC looks vastly different from person to person. People may assume that they are under the legal limit because they feel mostly sober, only to fail a test during a traffic stop. The average person, even someone who drinks regularly, may struggle to evaluate their own degree of impairment after drinking too much.

One of the more practical modern solutions for this concern is the decision to carry a portable breath test device or to use the devices installed at bars or restaurants. Does a satisfactory portable breath test before getting behind the wheel ensure someone is sober enough to legally drive?

Testing units aren’t always reliable

Despite the level of faith that many people have in breath testing technology, these devices often return inaccurate results. Even systems maintained by police departments can produce inappropriate or wildly inaccurate test results.

Devices owned and maintained by individual consumers or business establishments could have calibration issues. They might have actual mechanical issues impeding the administration of an accurate test. They might also have outdated software. Someone could perform a test that shows they are under the legal limit before leaving a bar or party, only to fail a breath test minutes later during a traffic stop.

The inaccuracy of the testing unit is only one issue. There is also the possibility of someone’s BAC continuing to rise after they leave the establishment. The more that they drink shortly before they leave and the faster they consume the alcohol, the better the chances their BAC might be higher by the time a police officer pulls them over on suspicion of impairment.

While on-demand breath testing does not always guarantee sobriety, it can help to establish an intent to follow the law. Recorded breath test results might also help someone develop a defense strategy after a DWI arrest. Understanding the limits of different tactics to reduce DWI arrest risk may benefit those who regularly enjoy alcoholic beverages.