Michael A. Ferraro, Esq., P.C.
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Can a pocket breath test help you avoid a DWI charge?

On Behalf of | Dec 30, 2022 | DWI defense |

When a police officer arrests you because they suspect that you have committed a driving while intoxicated (DWI) infraction, you could end up serving a jail sentence and paying large fines. If you do get behind the wheel after alcohol compromises your driving ability, you could also potentially hurt yourself or someone else by causing a wreck.

Responsible drivers will limit what they drink and also try to monitor themselves for signs of chemical impairment. Unfortunately, it is notoriously difficult for an individual to tell when alcohol has compromised their cognitive abilities or motor function. Chemical breath tests help determine someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and therefore whether they have violated the state’s DWI statute.

Will buying a personal test or performing a test at a bar or restaurant help you avoid an arrest?

Private tests have no guarantee of accuracy

The technology for chemical breath testing has improved in recent years, and there are now affordable and portable personal units, as well as paid devices that businesses can install for consumers to utilize. There are numerous shortcomings with someone relying on a pocket device or a testing unit at a business establishment to verify that they are sober enough to drive.

The first is that the testing unit could return inaccurate results. Owners may feel to calibrate their units or install software updates when necessary, which may mean that the test results are not reliable. Additionally, your body doesn’t instantly process alcohol as you consume it. Your blood alcohol levels may continue to rise for an hour after a typical drinking session, sometimes longer when people consume a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time.

Although pocket tests and paid tests that businesses provide can help you determine when you are conclusively over the limit, their results are not a guarantee that you are safe to drive.

Testing yourself helps show an intent to follow the law

There have certainly been scenarios in which people get pulled over and arrested for drunk driving after they performed a test at a restaurant or using their own device and believe that they were safe to drive. Although your test results wouldn’t immediately absolve you of criminal responsibility for being over the legal limit, they could help demonstrate to a prosecutor or the courts that you intended to comply with the law, which could help when negotiating a plea or defending against those charges.

Learning more about how to protect yourself from DWI charges can be as important as understanding the law so that you can better comply with it.