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Are personal BAC breath tests reliable?

St. Louis has thousands of restaurants, bars and public places where you can enjoy a cocktail and the company of your friends. As you likely know, though, few things ruin a fun night on the town faster than flashing lights in your rearview mirror. If your blood alcohol concentration is above the 0.08% legal limit, your evening may quickly turn into a legal nightmare. 

Driving drunk is a terrible idea for several different reasons. While taking a taxi or rideshare after consuming alcohol is often an effective way to stay out of trouble, you may prefer to drive. Investing in a personal breath test may help you gauge whether your BAC has climbed above 0.08%. Are these devices reliable, though? 

Some personal breath tests are accurate 

Like virtually all consumer products, not all personal breath tests are a good buy. In fact, some do not provide an accurate measurement of your BAC. You can, however, find a personal test that gives reliable results. Before buying one, ask about accuracy. After all, an inaccurate reading may encourage you to drive when you have too much alcohol in your blood. 

Tests often require calibration 

A major drawback of personal breath tests is that they often require careful calibration to function properly. If you fail to keep your device in good working order, you may not be able to trust its results. While it is possible to find a test device that does not require calibration, you must be sure you understand how to properly maintain and use any test you purchase. 

Staying off the road after consuming alcohol is the best way to avoid a DWI. If you want to drive, though, you may think about purchasing a personal breath test. When you do, you must be sure you are a savvy and educated consumer.

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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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