Can a personal breathalyzer prevent you from getting a DUI?

The other day I was checking out different apps on my IPhone when I came across something called the breathometer. As a Seattle DUI Lawyer this obviously intrigued me so I clicked on it to check it out. Apparently a company has created a personal breathalyzer that will connect to your IPhone and it will supposedly test your alcohol level. The website doesn’t say exactly how it works, but it is an interesting idea.

The notion of personal breathalyzers is nothing new. In fact if you google personal breathalyzer there will be probably a hundred results of different types. Prices range from $10 to $1000. I’ve even seen them sold at Restoration Hardware during the Holiday Season. With all these products on the market, and this new IPhone app this got me thinking. Can a personal breathalyzer prevent you from getting a DUI?

I guess it depends on what you use it for. If you take the personal breathalyzer to see if you have any alcohol in your system and you decide not to drive based on that. Then yes it will prevent you from getting a DUI. But if you use this device to see if you’re under the legal limit and then decide to drive based on that. Then no, it will not prevent you from getting a DUI.

First these personal breathalyzers are not entirely accurate. In fact the ones that police officers use in the field aren’t even that accurate, let alone one that is ran through your cell phone. Secondly there is a common misconception out there that if you’re under the legal limit of .08 you cannot be arrested and charged with a DUI. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

In Washington State there are two ways you can get charged with a DUI. One if if you blood alcohol level is over a .08. The second way is if your ability to drive is lessened in any appreciable degree by the alcohol you consumed. In other words did the alcohol affect your ability to drive. No blood alcohol level needs to be proven under the prong and even if the blood alcohol level is under the legal limit you can still be convicted of a DUI.

So in my opinion as a DUI lawyer in Seattle, WA. And you can take this anyway you want. I think these personal breathalyzers are fun to play with at a party or group of friends. But when it comes to your personal freedom I personally would never rely upon one to make the decision to drink and drive. It’s not like if you blew under the legal limit you can show the cop the result from the personal breathalyzer and they will let you go. It doesn’t work that way so it is better to be safe than sorry in my book.

About the author: Matthew Leyba is a Seattle DUI Lawyer. He is currently ranked as one of the Top Seattle DUI Lawyers in Washington by Avvo, and listed as a Rising Star by Super lawyers magazine and the Seattle Met magazine. An honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive.