Contact Me for a Free Consultation 703-219-8220

Personal Breathalyzer Test

Personal Breathalyzer Tests in Virginia DUI Cases: Usage and Legal Implications

Introduction In Virginia, personal breathalyzer tests are increasingly being used as a proactive measure to prevent DUI (Driving Under the Influence) offenses. This article explores what personal breathalyzer tests are, how they function, and their potential impact and limitations in Virginia DUI cases, referencing relevant statutes. If you or a loved one is charged with DUI in Virginia, contact Mr. R. Tyler Bezilla today for a free consultation.

Understanding Personal Breathalyzer Tests

Definition and Purpose A personal breathalyzer is a portable device that measures an individual's blood alcohol concentration (BAC). These devices are used to self-assess intoxication levels, helping individuals make informed decisions about their ability to drive safely.

The Role of Personal Breathalyzers in Preventing DUI

Proactive Measure Against DUI While not legally mandated, personal breathalyzers can be used voluntarily to avoid DUI offenses. In Virginia, DUI is defined under Virginia Code § 18.2-266, where driving with a BAC of 0.08% or higher constitutes an offense.

Legal Recognition and Limitations

Admissibility in Court The results from personal breathalyzers are generally not admissible as evidence in Virginia DUI cases due to questions about their accuracy and calibration. Official breathalyzer tests conducted by law enforcement, as authorized under Virginia Code § 18.2-268.2, are used for legal purposes.

Comparing Personal and Official Breathalyzers Personal breathalyzers may not meet the same calibration and maintenance standards as those used by law enforcement, which can lead to discrepancies in BAC readings.

Usage of Personal Breathalyzers

Self-Monitoring Before Driving Individuals can use personal breathalyzers to gauge their BAC and make a more informed decision about their ability to drive. It's a tool for self-assessment rather than a legal defense.

Limitations in Accuracy Users should be aware of potential inaccuracies and understand that these devices are not a guarantee against DUI charges.

Impact on DUI Cases in Virginia

Not a Legal Defense A low BAC reading on a personal breathalyzer is not a defense against a DUI charge if an official test administered by law enforcement indicates a BAC at or above the legal limit. It can, however, be used to argue the officer did not have probable cause to arrest you.

Awareness and Responsibility The use of personal breathalyzers can enhance awareness about the effects of alcohol and promote responsible driving behavior.


  1. Can I use a personal breathalyzer result to defend against a DUI charge in Virginia? No, results from personal breathalyzers are typically not admissible in court for defense against a DUI charge.

  2. How accurate are personal breathalyzer tests? The accuracy can vary based on the quality and calibration of the device. They are generally less reliable than official breathalyzers used by law enforcement.

  3. Is it required to carry a personal breathalyzer in Virginia? No, carrying a personal breathalyzer is not a legal requirement in Virginia.

  4. Can a personal breathalyzer prevent DUI charges? While it can help in self-assessing impairment, it's not a foolproof way to prevent DUI charges.

  5. What should I do if my personal breathalyzer shows a BAC under 0.08%, but I still feel impaired? Always err on the side of caution. If you feel impaired, do not drive, regardless of the BAC reading on a personal device.


Personal breathalyzer tests are valuable tools for self-monitoring in Virginia, promoting responsible decision-making regarding alcohol consumption and driving. However, they should not be solely relied upon to avoid DUI charges, as their readings are not a substitute for the official tests used in legal proceedings.

Contact Me Today

Mr. Bezilla is committed to answering your questions about Traffic Offenses, DUI, Criminal Misdemeanors, Domestic Abuse, Sex Offenses, Drug Offenses, Robbery, Burglary, Murder, Theft Crimes, White Collar Crimes, and Civil Matters in Virginia.

I offer a Free Consultation and I'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact me today to schedule an appointment.