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Do personal breathalyzers give accurate BAC readings?

The Denver office of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers is on South Colorado Boulevard. But if you want information from the group, you can also visit their website, where they recently featured an article on BAC.

The acronym stands for Blood Alcohol Content. It's a measurement of how much alcohol is in a person's system. MADD notes that due to the proliferation of inexpensive technology, breath-testing devices can now be found in many bars and in some people's homes. The question is, should you trust the reading you get from such a device?

The organization notes that the BAC threshold in Colorado -- and across the nation -- is 0.08 percent. That means that if you are tested for BAC by a police officer or by a medical worker on orders of a judge, and your BAC registers 0.08 percent or above, you can be considered too impaired to drive and face a DUI arrest.

Questions abound about the breathalyzer devices used by law enforcement agencies, so it makes sense to wonder how accurate a cheaper version of the device might be when used in a bar, home or car. MADD comes out against using the devices to try to determine whether or not you are sober enough to drive.

These less-expensive devices are simply more likely to be less accurate than the professional grade testers used by police officers. We would add that even those top-level testers can have problems with accuracy. If they are not properly or regularly calibrated, breathalyzers can give false positives.

False positives can also occur when certain medical or dental conditions are present in a driver.

So there is indeed good reason to doubt the accuracy of both professional grade breathalyzers and those devices present in pubs and homes. Contact an experienced DUI defense attorney if you have reason to believe your BAC reading before an arrest was inaccurate, improperly administered or otherwise questionable.

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