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The risk of depending on your pocket breath test before driving

| Dec 1, 2020 | DUI defense |

No one wants to ruin a pleasant evening out by getting arrested because they had too much to drink before driving home. If you frequently drink while socializing, you may have taken steps to protect yourself from criminal charges, such as purchasing a personal breath test unit.

Having a device in your purse or your car gives you a chance to quickly verify that you are sober enough to drive before you start your vehicle. Unfortunately, performing your own chemical breath test doesn’t necessarily prevent you from facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges. 

Breath tests can fail even if you perform them properly

Chemical breath testing units require calibration, physical maintenance and software updates in order to properly operate. If you don’t perform maintenance or calibrate the unit regularly, it might not give you an accurate result.

Drivers have passed breath tests administered on their own unit, only to get pulled over by police officers minutes later and discover they are actually at or over the legal limit. While having your own breath test unit could help you avoid making a costly mistake, it could also give you a false sense of security if the test results aren’t accurate.

Checking frequently to see if there are software updates or patches, as well as following the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance and calibration can help ensure the unit you have performs properly. Even when fully operational and properly cared for, however, breath testing devices can still give inaccurate results.

It’s possible for an officer’s unit to malfunction as well

There is an upside to realizing that chemical breath testing isn’t as reliable as many people think it is. A test administered by an officer during a traffic stop could produce unreliable or inaccurate results just as easily as a personal breath test could.

If you find yourself charged with a DUI, checking for maintenance and calibration records, as well as training for the officer involved, might give you grounds to push back against to charge when you don’t believe the breath test results are accurate. Discussing the situation that led to your arrest with an attorney can be a first step toward fighting pending DUI charges.