New Legislation Requires In-Vehicle Breathalyzers by 2026

3-300x300New Legislation Requires In-Vehicle Breathalyzers by 2026

Impaired driving is an ongoing problem in every state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately a million drunk driving arrests in the United States every year. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in North Carolina is 0.08%. If the police suspect you are driving while impaired, they may ask you to perform some field sobriety tests as well as take part in a breathalyzer test. If you are over the limit, you will likely be facing DWI charges in North Carolina.


What are Breathalyzer Tests?

Breathalyzers are devices that measure the BAC in a person’s system. There are various types of devices that may be used. You may be familiar with a simple breath test that law enforcement uses at traffic stops. In general, a person blows into the device, which measures the BAC and provides a number. If the BAC reading is at 0.08% or higher, you are above the legal limit and will be charged with DWI or impaired driving. It is important to note that the device must be properly calibrated, and the officer must know how to properly administer the test and read the results.


Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Are breath test results always accurate?”


In-Vehicle Intoxilyzers

In some cases, the punishment for repeated or extreme DUI is to require a driver to install an intoxilyzer device in their vehicle. The intoxilyzer is a device similar to a breathalyzer in that it measures your level of alcohol. The intoxilyzer may be required to be installed on the ignition of the vehicle. The driver must blow into the intoxilyzer and must not have any alcohol in their system in order to operate the car. Generally, the driver is responsible for the costs involved in installing the system into their vehicle.


New Legislation Requires In-Vehicle Breathalyzerswine-DWI-Charges-in-North-Carolina-Defense-Attorney-scaled

New legislation requires new vehicles sold in the United States as soon as 2026 to be equipped with passive alcohol detection systems. Passive alcohol detection systems are still in the developmental stages. The way these systems would work is that they would continually monitor the alcohol level of the driver by using sensors located near the steering wheel. The system would constantly monitor the driver’s breath in an unobtrusive manner. If the unit detects an elevated BAC level, the vehicle will become inoperable.


The Future of DWI Cases

The development and implementation of passive alcohol detection systems are still in the beginning stages. Although the law will apply to new vehicles, older vehicles will not have this technology. It will take some time for alcohol detection to be standard on all vehicles on the road. While the use of these systems is intended to help prevent impaired drivers, there are many unique issues that would arise with the use of these integrated vehicle devices. There may be questions about the accuracy of these devices as well as the privacy of the driver.


If you have been charged with DWI, you will want to vigorously defend the charges with help from an experienced DWI attorney. Call us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 for a free initial consultation.






The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.



G.S. 20-138.1 (

Impaired Driving: Get the Facts | Transportation Safety | Injury Center | CDC


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