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How Effective Are Breathalyzers?

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While most drivers may think of breathalyzers as court-mandated devices, installed into their car against their will, the truth is that plenty of motorists voluntarily seek out and carry their own portable breathalyzers in order to test themselves before getting behind the wheel. But do these devices actually work as advertised? Or could they actually be doing more harm than good?

As one Colorado DUI lawyer tells local news affiliate KOAA-5, using a portable breathalyzer to gauge blood alcohol content (BAC) levels before turning the key may lull some drivers into a false sense of security, believing that the devices provide a 100 percent accuracy success rate that they don't necessarily have. Others worry about whether someone who has to resort to a breathalyzer on a regular basis should be getting behind the wheel at all.

"If you're using a device to determine a level of intoxication, you may want to think twice about driving altogether," Deputy Andrew Thompson, of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, tells the news outlet. "There's no certification or calibration for these devices."

Thompson also notes that, while the legal limit of intoxication may be a BAC level of 0.08, blowing below that doesn't automatically preclude from you getting into legal trouble. Drivers can still be charged with a DUI in Colorado, regardless of BAC reading, as long as the officer determines on-site that the accused was impaired while driving.

Of course, if you've been charged with a DUI, having a breathalyzer installed into your car would be the least of your problems. A Colorado DUI sentencing can run from harsh financial fines to a revoked driver's license and even time behind bars. If you find yourself accused of driving under the influence, make sure to contact The Orr Law Firm for the utmost in legal counsel at your side.