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Can a Pocket Breath Tester Get You Out of a DUI?

On Behalf of | May 8, 2024 | DUI |

A personal breath test device is a portable gadget that you can use to estimate your blood alcohol content by analyzing a breath sample.

Personal breath tests can provide an informal assessment of your level of intoxication, which is theoretically useful if you want to avoid getting a DUI. However, the use of these devices prompts questions about their effectiveness, legal implications and technological reliability.

Effectiveness of personal breath testing devices

You can buy personal breath testing devices easily. Most are simple to use. However, their accuracy varies greatly compared to the professional devices used by law enforcement. The best personal tests strive to meet high quality standards, but they cannot match the reliability of police devices. Factors such as calibration and outside conditions can affect their accuracy. Consequently, you should not rely solely on these tests to determine your impairment level or make driving decisions.

Breath test technology has recently improved, making the tests more appealing to consumers. These improvements include better sensors, more straightforward interfaces and quicker results. Many of these new devices can even pair with your smartphone. Although these advancements raise the accuracy of personal tests, they still do not guarantee the quality of results that courts require.

Legal implications of using a personal breath test

South Dakota courts do not currently accept the results of personal breath tests as evidence in DUI cases. The legal system requires all evidence to meet specific standards. Law enforcement must follow clear protocol when collecting, analyzing and storing test results. Personal devices, even high-end ones, cannot meet these standards.

The results from personal breath tests generally have no direct impact on DUI legal proceedings. These devices’ main role is to educate users about their blood alcohol content. A personal breath test device can help you avoid a DUI by encouraging you to not drive. However, if you choose to get behind the wheel and you are intoxicated, they offer no real protection. If law enforcement stops you, they can conduct their own tests, which will serve as the basis for any legal actions related to DUI.

A pocket breath test can be informative when you are drinking. However, it cannot provide a reliable basis to legally challenge a DUI charge in South Dakota. The best course of action if you suspect you are near the legal limit is to avoid driving altogether.