The devices go by various names. Some states use something they call a Breathalyzer. Others use an Intoxylizer. They are all variations on a theme: a device whose basic purpose is to give a reading of blood-alcohol content (BAC). In New York and other states, such devices are often used by law enforcement authorities who are seeking evidence of drunk driving.
In some cases, if someone refuses a breath test, authorities may insist on drawing blood. The issue of whether law enforcement officers may do that without consent in the absence of a search warrant is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. A ruling is expected later this year in the case of Missouri v. McNeely.
Regardless of how that case is decided, however, breath testing is sure to remain an important factor in drunk driving cases. In this post, we'd like to point out that law enforcement by no means has a monopoly on such tests. In fact, there are many devices on the market that can give someone an indicator of his or her BAC.
They are not all that expensive, either. Some sell for only a few dollars. Others cost up to $300. Understandably, with such a range, the accuracy of the devices can vary considerably.
But the sales of personal breathalyzers are growing steadily. In 2011, a market research firm estimated that sales reached $284.6 million. Market analysts expect this number to grow to over $3.2 billion within five years. As with other electronic devices, sales could really take off once the price comes down and the functionality of the devices continues to improve.
Indeed, in a sense the future is already here in at least one country. In France, with a strong tradition of social drinking embedded deeply in the culture, drivers are required by law to carry a personal breathalyzer.
Source: "Your Own Personal Breathalyzer," The Street, 1-17-13
Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more aobut our practice, please visit our New York City DWI defense page.