When you regularly drink, you may develop the ability to better gauge your own alcohol intoxication. However, you may also develop an increased alcohol tolerance, which can be a risk factor for drunk driving charges.
Even if you can consume more alcohol without it affecting your cognition and motor function, you can still face impaired driving charges when you are over the legal limit for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Actual impairment to your driving is not necessary for the state to charge you with a crime.
Therefore, you need to know your BAC before you get behind the wheel to avoid criminal charges. While you may think that purchasing a personal breath test unit and testing yourself before you leave a bar would help you avoid charges, that often won’t be the case.
Your test results may give you a false sense of security
You just finished your last drink and want to head home from the bar or party, so you quickly perform a breast test. The device informs you that you are under the legal limit, so you happily get behind the wheel and drive home.
Unfortunately, you don’t make it home because a police officer pulls you over. When they perform a breast test, they tell you that you are over the limit and then proceed to arrest you. There are a couple of reasons why this may have occurred.
There could be an issue with your testing unit because you haven’t calibrated the device recently or installed the most recent software updates. You may not realize until you fail a breath test administered by someone else that your device no longer returns accurate results.
It’s also possible that the results you initially saw on your own device were accurate and so are the results from the police unit. Your BAC could continue rising for some time after you finish your last drink. The sooner you get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, the more likely your body is still to be in the process of metabolizing that alcohol. Your BAC could go well over the legal limit between when you get behind the wheel and when a police officer pulls you over on your way home.
Although having your own breath test device can at least provide a baseline of information, it is never a guarantee that you can make it home without getting into trouble with law enforcement after drinking. The intention behind buying a personal breath test unit is a noble one. You want to comply with the law and avoid putting others at risk.
Recognizing the limitations of that choice and carefully maintaining the device and giving yourself time to fully metabolize a drink before driving could help you drastically reduce the chances of facing an impaired driving charge.