Your ability to tell when you have had too much to drink isn’t as good as you might imagine. The average person has a hard time knowing when a little bit becomes too much. Adults consistently underestimate their own impairment and overestimate their ability to drive even when sober.
That may mean that those who definitely should not be behind the wheel decide to drive home from a party. If you don’t want to get arrested for drunk driving but like to drink in social environments, you need to have some system in place for your own protection.
In recent years, many people have begun purchasing their own chemical breath tests. Many popular bars and restaurants also install these machines so patrons can pay to test themselves. Will performing a test before you pay your bill help you avoid drunk driving charges?
Your BAC can continue to increase
Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a reflection of how much alcohol you have consumed. It will go up after you drink and then decline as your body metabolizes or breaks down the alcohol you ingested.
The average person can metabolize roughly one drink per hour, but people sometimes consume far more than a single drink in a 60-minute window. Especially if you have just finished a beverage, the test that you perform before leaving may not be accurate because your BAC may continue to go up for another hour after you leave.
The device may not be accurate
Even if you maintain your own chemical breath testing unit and do not rely on a device provided by a local bar, you will have no way of truly knowing how accurate the readings are. If you use a public device, it may have been months since the business calibrated that device or installed software updates.
While breath testing can let you know when you are absolutely not safe to drive, passing a breath test before driving does not automatically mean you will pass one when pulled over later by the police. Of course, if you did pass a breath test and then failed one shortly afterward when an officer administered a test to you, the discrepancy between those two tests could be the beginning of a viable defense strategy.
Fighting back against drunk driving charges often requires an understanding of the law and the evidence the state will use against you.