Glance at the web, and you’ll see plenty of claims that a personal breathalyzer can save you from a conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI).
Not everything you read online is true, but not everything is false, either. So, which is it when it comes to personal breathalyzers? Can they really save you from a DWI?
They can help, but not in the way you might think
Telling a judge that the police breathalyzer must have been wrong because the breathalyzer you bought on the internet said you were under the limit won’t save your skin. They won’t accept evidence from your machine in court; besides, maybe your device was wrong.
Even telling an officer that you tested yourself is unwise, especially if they have just pulled you over. When you say, “Yes, officer, I have had a drink, but my machine says I am fine to drive,” they hear, “Yes, officer, I know I may have drunk enough for impairment to be an issue.”
It gives them a reason to test you with their breathalyzer or ask you to carry out field sobriety tests, increasing the chance they’ll arrest you. Remember, the police can still charge you with an offense if they feel any quantity of alcohol has affected your driving. You do not need to be over the limit to be cited with impairment.
The best way to avoid a DWI is not to drink if you know you might be tempted to drive. The only real use for a personal machine is to remind you that if you drive home now, your current blood alcohol content makes a DWI very likely. If that happens, your best chance of avoiding a conviction will be to seek legal help.