After decades of anti-drunk driving campaigns and increased measures to crack down on drunk driving throughout the country, there’s more awareness than ever about the dangers associated with driving under the influence. Not long ago, breathalyzers were big, heavy, and clunky pieces of equipment only police officers could carry around to conduct DUI investigations. Today, many portable breathalyzers fit in the palm of your hand, and some can even be carried on a keychain.
Increasing the accessibility of breath test devices empowers consumers to be aware of their own levels of intoxication at any time; however, these devices come with their own set of problems. If you’re considering purchasing a breathalyzer device for personal use, you should take note of the potential issues arising from these machines.
How Accurate is a Pocket Breathalyzer?
Accuracy is a top concern for all types of breathalyzers. From the cheapest pocket breathalyzer to Florida’s very own Intoxilyzer 8000, machines built to detect alcohol in a person’s breath are prone to producing inaccurate results for a variety of reasons.
You can choose from several models of portable breath tests on the websites of major retailers, including Walmart and Amazon. Some brands sell devices that are more reputable than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re not prone to errors. Generally, breathalyzers act up when a person:
- Fails to calibrate the machine properly
- Has a medical condition like diabetes or GERD
- Uses mouthwash or chewing gum before a test
- Has a breathing pattern that causes the test to detect a higher concentration of ethyl alcohol
- Takes medicine before testing their breath
- Drinks coffee shortly before breathing into the device
These are just a few of the many things that can affect the results of a breath test. Results may also vary between different models or brands of breathalyzers. This is a top reason the results of portable breath tests are not admissible in court as evidence against DUI defendants.
While it might be a good idea to use a breath test to get a ballpark figure of your BAC, you won’t want to rely on the results of one of these tests to make a decision whether or not to drive after drinking. The best thing you can do is to find an alternative form of transportation to avoid a DUI stop altogether.
How a Pocket Breathalyzer Could Affect Your DUI Case
Besides the risk of a false high positive BAC, using a pocket breathalyzer could do more harm than good. For example, let’s say you were at a bar one night and had a few drinks among a group of people. If you tested yourself on a pocket breathalyzer in public and then chose to drive home despite the BAC reading you received being at or above the legal limit, the other people at the bar who saw you test yourself could provide testimony that hurts your case if you’re later arrested for DUI.
This is the main way of providing the court with incriminating evidence against yourself. If the court finds out that you used a breathalyzer test, failed the test, and drove anyway, it could make you look worse and weaken your case. If you used a device that automatically stores your results, it could become a piece of evidence about your state of mind when you chose to drive under the influence.
Skip the Personal Breathalyzer. Turn to a Trusted DUI Defense Lawyer
The last thing you will want to do if you’re concerned about a DUI arrest is to give the state more ammunition in its case against you. If you face a DUI charge in Palm Beach County, turn to The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel for a proper defense.
DUI is a serious misdemeanor offense that could impact several areas of your life even after you’ve served your sentence. In some cases, you might even face a felony charge for DUI. Don’t risk a conviction and don’t lose hope that there’s little you can do to fight your charge. With a competent attorney on your side, you can achieve the best possible result.
Attorney Brian Gabriel has fought DUI and related charges throughout Palm Beach County for more than 25 years and is highly knowledgeable about the machines Florida law enforcement officers rely upon to gather BAC data. You can trust him to provide a strong case, personal attention, and quality service. Call 561-622-5575 for a free consultation or complete our contact form.