Can a Personal Breathalyzer Save You From a DWI Arrest?

  • Dan T. Matrafajlo
  • Wed Dec 2016
  • DWI,
  • 0

Personal BreathalyzerIt might seem like the perfect solution to save you from a DWI arrest. Surely it’s worth the investment to buy a personal breathalyzer. Or, is it?

We will start with the obvious. You have a couple of drinks and decide to see if your handy dandy breathalyzer registers you as legally drunk. When the reading comes back with an excessive blood alcohol content (BAC) percentage number, you take heed. You decide it’s best not to get behind the wheel and drive while under the influence. Yes, the personal breathalyzer worked. It saved you from a DWI arrest because you paid attention to the results.

But, just how accurate are personal breathalyzers? What if the gadget tells you that you are not intoxicated? And, you really are drunk? Can this be used as a defense in a DWI case?

The short answer is no. Your arrest could start with your performance in a field sobriety test. New Jersey law states that those suspected of drunk driving have given implied consent to a breathalyzer test by the arresting officer. Yes, on their professional testing device. The alternative is to have your blood drawn at a medical facility. At best, the police officer may be amused that you thought a gadget could save you from a DWI arrest.

We are not saying that personal breathalyzers are necessarily a bad idea. They might be a good barometer for positive readings. Even if they give you a false positive, it’s still worth knowing that you could be drunk. Of course, that only matters if it will keep you from taking a chance at operating a motor vehicle.

Some More Information about Personal Breathalyzers

It’s holiday time, and you may want to buy yourself or a loved one a personal breathalyzer as a gift. Here’s some basic information that you may find useful:

  • Cost: Personal breathalyzers range in cost from as low as $10 to $200. The lower the price, the less chance of accuracy. The less expensive items are considered novelty gadgets.
  • Different types of Personal Breathalyzers: If you are interested in purchasing a personal breathalyzer, you may wish to consult this buying guide . There is even a smart phone application that can be used to approximate BAC readings. The least accurate personal breathalyzer can be used as a keychain. Smart phones can become equipped with mobile breathalyzers. There are also disposable breath alcohol testers that can only be used one time but are considered somewhat accurate. The most precise results come from Digital LCD Handheld Breathalyzers.
  • Where to Buy Personal Breathalyzers: Most personal breathalyzers can be purchased online or at big box electronics retailers. Keychain breathalyzers may be available in novelty stores.

Of course, the safest way to avoid a drunk driving arrest is not to drive if you have consumed any alcohol. We cannot stress enough that a personal breathalyzer means nothing if you ignore a positive BAC reading. Never rely on a personal breathalyzer that says you are not drunk unless you have not been drinking.

Contact Us

Were you arrested for DWI? At the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo, we can help you understand the legal consequences. Contact our office to discuss your alternatives.

Dan T. Matrafajlo

Dan T. Matrafajlo

NJ State Bar #: 031722003

Dan T. Matrafajlo, Esq., is the managing member and lead partner at Beninato and Matrafajlo, Attorneys at Law, LLC. Renowned for groundbreaking contributions to personal injury law, he has set legal precedents with influential Appellate decisions and garnered recognition in the New Jersey Law Journal. A consistent honoree on Super Lawyers' Rising Star list for the past five years, Matrafajlo's litigation prowess is widely acknowledged. He has won various awards like Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters Association 2019, and Nominated into Super Lawyers as a Rising Star from 2012 until the Present.

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