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Can a personal breath tester protect people from DWI charges?  

On Behalf of | Nov 20, 2023 | DWI

Many people in Texas frequently enjoy alcohol and do so responsibly. They know how much they can drink safely some people even go so far as to invest in personal breath test devices or to use paper use systems at the bars and restaurants they frequent. They don’t want to cause a crash or get arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). 

People often feel more confident about driving home from the bar if they have just passed a breath test. However, some of those drivers could get arrested on their way home because they failed a chemical test administered by a police officer. Many people don’t realize that performing their own breath tests won’t necessarily protect them from prosecution. 

Why would test results be different? 

People often assume that if they perform a breath test before leaving a bar or restaurant they are safe to drive if the test results were under the legal limit. However, they may have received inaccurate results for a variety of reasons. 

Perhaps the device they used had not received proper maintenance and calibration. This is a concern both for pocket units and those installed at popular venues. More commonly, the issue has to do with the timing of someone’s test. It takes the body time after someone ingests alcohol for the alcohol to enter the bloodstream and affect test results. 

If someone performs a breath test mere minutes after finishing their last drink, their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will likely continue to rise on their drive home. When they leave the bar and get pulled over 30 minutes later, the BAC produced during testing could be substantially higher than it was at the venue. 

A failed breath test during a traffic stop does not automatically mean someone’s conviction is inevitable. Raising questions about the accuracy of the test results is one way for a Texas driver to potentially fight DWI charges.