These days, there really is an app for just about everything — including ones that are supposed to tell you if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the legal limit to drive.
Combined with a small device that can be tucked into your pocket and plugged into your smartphone, Breathalyzer apps are supposed to give you warning that you either need to quit drinking or get a ride home.
But should you trust them? Probably not. Here’s why:
You can still get arrested for drunk driving when you’re below the limit
A BAC of .08% is called the “per se” limit for a drunk driving charge because the law presumes that anybody with a BAC that high or higher is too intoxicated to drive.
However, you can still be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content that’s lower. Human beings have a complicated physiology, so one person with a BAC of .06% may seem as sober as a proverbial judge, while someone else with the same BAC can’t find their feet well enough to walk a straight line.
If an officer sees that you’re driving erratically, pulls you over, smells alcohol on your breath and asks for a Breathalyzer exam, being below .08% won’t necessarily get you out of an arrest.
You have no real way of knowing if that pocket Breathalyzer actually works
As many people have pointed out, you have no real way of knowing how accurate your pocket machine and app really are.
Among other problems, you have no idea where the product was made, so you don’t know if there were good quality controls. You are also probably tucking the device into your bag or pocket, and that could easily mess with its calibration and give you a misleading result. Even professional machines, like those used by the police, can give inaccurate readings if they’re mishandled or miscalibrated. Even breathing wrong into one of these devices can cause inaccurate results.
In short: When you’ve been drinking, it’s better just to get a ride home. If you do make a mistake and get charged with drunk driving, don’t let it ruin your life. Speak to an experienced defense attorney right away.