Drivers try to prevent DUI arrests with personal breath tests

What is in your glove compartment? Perhaps you have a pack of gum in there. Maybe you have some gloves, a checkbook, a pair of sunglasses and various writing utensils. If you are like a growing number of motorists, you might have something a bit more interesting: a breathalyzer test.

When an officer makes a traffic stop and performs a drunk driving investigation, a breath test is a significant part of that process. The results of a breathalyzer can mean the difference between an arrest or a close-call, a charge or a conviction. According to insurance sources, more drivers are trying to avoid a DWI situation by owning their own personal breath tests.

Research indicates that personal breath alcohol analyzers were a $284 million market in 2011. Some of the most expensive brands of the devices cost up to $300. Others cost much less and are not as accurate but apparently still provide their owners with enough information to go on when they decide whether they are fit to drink.

Why own a device of one’s own? Those who buy a personal breathalyzer test are probably trying to avoid getting pulled over and charged with drunk driving. Many DUI arrests involve suspects who truly believed that they were under the legal limit. Blowing into one’s own test is a way to gauge his BAC before starting his vehicle and driving home.

It is important to note that the personal devices may not always be dependable. Just like even law enforcement’s breathalyzer tests, machines make mistakes. They have to be cared for just right. They have to be used just right. A low BAC reading from a personal device, therefore, might not be enough to save a driver from an impaired driving charge.

Our Tennessee law firm defends those who have been charged with DWI and has experience assessing the details of a breathalyzer test. Though a test might initially get someone charged with a crime, a more thorough analysis of it sometimes frees them from the charge.

Source:, “Keeping a breath alcohol tester in your car may sound like a smart idea when it’s party night, but there are caveats,” Mark Vallet, Jan. 11, 2013

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