Lawyer Referral Service

LRS Blog

Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Jul 18, 2014

While Arizona continues to crack down on drunk driving, new devices are coming into the market to help people avoid DUIs. Breathalyzers are commonly used by law enforcement as an alternative to a blood test—so does a personal breathalyzer work as well as the professional kind?

The growing market for paranoid drinkers is growing, with breathalyzer pricing from a few dollars to a few hundred. Even cell phone apps are available to help people calibrate whether or not they are legally intoxicated.

As far as reliability goes, personal breathalyzers are anything but dependable, according to law enforcement. The color changing crystal models have a limited shelf life, and are not to be trusted after their time is up. User error is also common with most of these devices, since many of these products do not use calibration for accuracy. All the breathalyzer can do is attempt to measure the amount of alcohol in your blood, based on the ethanol you exhale. Your blood alcohol level (BAC) also continues to rise after you stop drinking, so the reading could fluctuate in a matter of moments.

BAC is not the only determinant used when charging someone with a DUI, law enforcement also looks for visible signs of impairment. Everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, it could vary based on how much you ate that day or how much stress you are in, therefore, it’s best to not leave your fate up to an app.

Many people can hold their alcohol without being legally drunk, although these devices are not always accurate, they could give you insight into how much a drink or two really affects you. If you have teenagers and suspect them of drinking at a party, the breathalyzer may also be a helpful resource. There are hundreds of reviews on Amazon for these products, but please remember to never drink and drive, even if the device says you’re good to go. A cab is cheaper than a DUI!