What You Should Know Before Purchasing A Personal Breathalyzer
Pros and Cons of Using Personal Breathalyzers
As law enforcement continues to increase penalties for drunk driving, it may seem wise to purchase a personal breathalyzer device. After all, if you are pulled over and the police suspect you may be intoxicated, it is a good bet the officer will administer a blood-alcohol test to determine whether you are within legal limits. Why not avoid problems by testing yourself in advance, right? Well, before you rush out and buy a personal breathalyzer device, just remember that personal breathalyzers have limitations. You should absolutely never drive if you have been drinking. This point cannot be overstated. You should carefully read the reviews before buying a personal breathalyzer. Here are a few pros and cons of using such devices.
The Pros of Personal Breathalyzer Tests
Peace of mind: One of the biggest reasons to use a personal breathalyzer device is to give yourself a little peace of mind before getting behind the wheel. This is the basic logic behind these devices. If you know that you are over the legal limit, you can call a cab knowing you have made the right choice.
Deterrence: You probably already know you should not drive after drinking. What happens when a friend insists she is able to drive? Sometimes other people do not recognize their own intoxication. Many people find themselves out enjoying drinks with friends, only to discover the designated driver has decided to indulge. Alcohol impairs judgment, which means the otherwise reasonable and responsible friend may now feel confident that he is sober and can drive. Having that person take a quick breathalyzer test can be a strong visual reminder that he is intoxicated and avoid arguments or worse.
The Cons of Personal Breathalyzer Tests
Blood alcohol levels are complicated: Alcohol absorbs into a person’s blood stream over time. Typically, blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches peak levels about one hour after drinking. So, if like most people, you are going to your car after leaving a restaurant or bar, the result you get on your personal breathalyzer device may be deceivingly low. Since absorption rates vary widely, depending on food consumption, age, weight, body fat, type of alcohol consumed, and even the time lapse between drinks, there is no way to know how high one’s BAC will climb unless time is allowed before testing. Most people do not wait an hour before testing.
False sense of security: As mentioned already, since BAC is complicated, using a personal breathalyzer can be misleading and give you a false sense of security.
Legal limits may be misleading: In New York, for a person 21 or older, the limit is a BAC of .08. This means anything .08 or higher is considered unlawful. However, this is not the end of the matter. This is just the basic test for determining whether a person can be charged with “Driving While Intoxicated” or DWI. If you are operating a commercial vehicle, the limit is just .04. A single drink can register at this level. If you are under 21, the rule is .02, so basically not a single drop of alcohol can register.
Even if BAC is below the limit, you can still be charged: Even if you cannot be charged with DWI based on your BAC, the police can still charge you with other offenses if the evidence warrants it. Here are just a few of the other offenses:
- Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI-Alcohol)
- Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI-Drugs)
- Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI-Combination drugs and alcohol)
Other evidence of impairment may include slurred speech, stumbling, odor, presence of intoxicating substances, and pretty much anything else that could provide a reasonable basis for believing your ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired. For these offenses, BAC is just one type of evidence the police can use to prove impairment.
Charged With a Drunk Driving Offense? Call the Long Island DUI Lawyers at 888-DUI-Lawyer
Penalties for alcohol-related offenses in Long Island can range from a night in jail and fines to lengthy jail sentences and the loss of driving privileges. Our experienced and trusted DUI & DWI attorneys can help fight to protect your rights. Call (888) DUI-Lawyer today. Consultations are free, 24/7.