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Can I depend on an over-the-counter BAC test?

Individuals suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol may be subject to one of the many common types of BAC measurement. Blood, urine and saliva can all be used to measure the blood alcohol content of a driver, but none are as commonly used as the Breathalyzer.

When stopped on suspicion of DUI, a driver may refuse a Breathalyzer if they believe there is a chance they will be over the legal limit. Although a refusal will prompt a license suspension based on the idea of implied consent, it may be a better alternative than providing a potentially damning BAC reading. After all, every individual metabolizes, absorbs and reacts to alcohol differently. Even individuals that are not experiencing the effects of alcohol may have a BAC above the legal limit.

Another alternative for drivers is to purchase an over-the-counter BAC test. Although these inexpensive testing devices may not be as accurate as those used by law enforcement, they may offer some help when determining if you are OK to drive. The BAC reading provided by these devices can't be used as a defense in a DUI arrest; however, the result it provides may help explain an individual's decision to drive after drinking.

There are many BAC testing devices offered to consumers, but their accuracy may vary greatly. Saliva test strips are typically considered one of the most accurate over-the-counter blood alcohol tests. While these consumer products may not be grounds for a defense against DUI charges, the responsible use of these products may help an attorney argue against a DUI charge.

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