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Should you have your own breathalyzer?

Technology that was once considered futuristic, unobtainable or reserved for the wealthy is now common in Loudoun County households. Consider computers, smartphones, recently introduced “smart” watches, GPS and other items too numerous to mention.

One electronic gadget no longer reserved for exclusive ownership might surprise some readers: breathalyzers. There are companies now marketing what they call “professional grade” breathalyzers directly to consumers. Believe it or not, but the gadgets are in some cases modestly priced, ranging from $99 to $149.

Why would a person want their own device with which they can measure the alcohol level in their own breath (or the breath of friends or loved ones)?

According to the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch, at least one reason might be “to help them more confidently enjoy an intoxicating product on their own terms.”

Before you go scouring Leesburg stores or the internet for your own breathalyzer, however, consider this: you might be wasting your money with such a purchase. In many cases of driving under the influence, an experienced Virginia DUI attorney can help a client get charges dismissed or reduced because the calibration and maintenance of a breathalyzer has been too long ignored, or the calibration was done improperly. Improper calibration can result in inaccurate readings, indicating to law enforcement officials and prosecutors that a person’s breath contained unacceptably high levels of alcohol.

In that same way, a personal breathalyzer might give its owner the wrong impression from an improperly calibrated personal breathalyzer that a person is fit to drive. So an impaired person might get behind the wheel of a car while believing that their alcohol level is below the legal threshold.

So please consider the purchase of such a device carefully.

Source: MarketWatch.com, “Police and Employers May Finally See Cannabis Breathalyzer,” Sept. 10, 2014

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