September 28, 2023
Have you ever wondered what your blood alcohol content (BAC) is before getting behind the wheel?
There are numerous breathalyzers on the market that are available to consumers for their own personal use. Right now, however, you may not even need to buy one. Why? Because the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is giving away breathalyzers to eligible candidates in an effort to study whether having access to a mobile Breathalyzer decreases a person’s risk of driving drunk.
Drinking and driving is taken seriously in our state. We even have two separate drinking and driving charges: driving while ability impaired (DWAI) and driving under the influence (DUI).
You can get a DWAI if your BAC is over 0.05 but less than 0.08. If your BAC is 0.08 or above, you can be charged with a DUI. An offender for either charge can face jail time, expensive fines, and numerous other costs and consequences that can affect all aspects of your life.
Once you’ve been convicted of a DWAI or DUI charge, the penalties increase for any subsequent charges, and 40 percent of DUI cases involve individuals who already have a DUI conviction. So it’s for this reason that CDOT has rolled out its new Breathalyzer Program.
Let’s take a look at the program to see if you might qualify to obtain your own Breathalyzer and how the Breathalyzer actually works.
Who Is Eligible for a Free Breathalyzer in Colorado?
If you have one prior DUI charge; live in Jefferson County, Adams County, or Weld County; and are willing to participate in the program, you might be eligible to receive a free smartphone breathalyzer. However, you will first have to fill out an online application form on CDOT’s website expressing your interest in the program.
If you’re selected, you will receive a BACtrack Mobile Pro smartphone Breathalyzer along with additional information in the mail. You will be allowed to use the breathazlyer for the duration of the summer.
When you receive the breathalyzer, you’re also agreeing to take three 15-minute surveys about your breathalyzer use. If you complete all three surveys, you will be allowed to keep the breathalyzer, which has a value of $100.
How Does the Breathalyzer Work?
Before you get behind the wheel after you’ve been out drinking, you will breathe into the breathalyzer to test your BAC. The BACtrack breathalyzer connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and displays your BAC results on an app. The app will also tell you an estimate of when your BAC will return to zero.
If your BAC is above the legal limit, the app will even allow you to request an Uber so you don’t have to worry about getting home.
CDOT’s new Breathalyzer Program could potentially change the DUI game. If the breathalyzer does in fact deter people from getting behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking, we might see a decrease in DUI fatalities, crashes, and convictions, and personal breathalyzers might become more widespread.
Even if you’re not eligible to receive CDOT’s free breathalyzer, you can purchase the same model on your own or a more basic model for $50 so you can put yourself to the challenge and see how you would react with the knowledge of your BAC.
Regardless of whether you have a breathalyzer available or not, if you’ve been charged with a DUI or DWAI, contact an experienced Colorado DUI attorney to get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.