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Should you trust a personal breath testing device?

People from all backgrounds deal with driving under the influence of alcohol. Take Missouri basketball player Jordan Barnett, whom police arrested in early March for DWI. As a result, Barnett will be unable to participate in the NCAA tournament. 

If you talk to enough people, then you will soon find everyone has tips for not going past the legal limit. Some people suggest only having one alcohol beverage an hour. Some people even suggest buying your own breath testing device, so you know what your blood alcohol concentration is before getting behind the wheel. While some vouch for these devices, you should not necessarily put all your faith into them if you want to avoid a DWI

Questioning reliability

Some breath testers are relatively similar to the ones police forces use, while others connect to your smartphone to provide you a reading. The one concern is that the reading may not be totally accurate, especially if you purchased a cheap one. Even if the reading is only off by 0.01 percent, it could still be enough to put you over the limit. 

It is also important for anyone considering purchasing one of these devices to note that a reading you take on your own will not be admissible as evidence in court. You will not be able to tell a judge that when you took the test, your BAC was 0.05 percent, so you have no idea how the cops got 0.08 percent out of you. There are also some worries that some of these devices glorify drinking. For example, some mobile versions connect to social media, and you may not want all your friends and family to know what your BAC was throughout a given evening. 

Understanding your body's breakdown of alcohol

You should never drive if you feel even slightly tipsy. However, one benefit of these devices is that you gain a better understanding of how your body interacts with alcohol. You can test yourself to see what your BAC is throughout the night. You may feel fine, only to go through the test to see your BAC is at 0.08 percent. Now you know not drive in this instance, and for future reference, you know you are not fit to drive even though you feel all right. 

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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