Ever since the breathalyzer became the standard way to test Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), people have had a fascination with “beating the breathalyzer.” A breathalyzer is a test used to measure the amount of alcohol in your blood stream based on a breath test. Even scientists have taken on the challenge of determining what methods may help to reduce a showing of blood alcohol in the event that you are pulled over for the suspicion of drunken driving. Our Birmingham DUI attorneys are experienced with representing individuals who have been arrested and charged with drinking and driving.
We do know that there are some things you can do that may actually increase the amount of alcohol that shows up in a breathalyzer test. For example, rinsing your mouth with mouthwash that has trace alcohol content may cause your blood-alcohol levels to increase. This is also the case if you spray Binaca or other mouth sprays into your mouth. Don’t hold your breath before a breathalyzer either. While some think that this lowers alcohol level readings, it actually allows more alcohol to diffuse in your lungs and can increase the BAC by up to 15%, an amount that can make a significant difference in a DUI case.
There are some incredible theories on how to beat a breathalyzer. You may have heard of a few of these: sucking on a penny, chewing gum, or putting a piece of clothing in your mouth. By scientific standards, these are simply myths and none have been shown to reduce the BAC in a breathalyzer test. While holding your breath may actually increase the BAC results, hyperventilating is the only method that has been scientifically proven to “beat the breathalyzer.” According to an article published in Medical Science at the Law, hyperventilating for 20 seconds can reduce your BAC by 10.6%. Similarly, running up a flight of stairs, to the point that you are out of breath can decrease the result of your breathalyzer. Ten percent is not significant if you are genuinely drunk, but it could make a difference if you are slightly above the legal limit.
All of this is to say, that breathalyzer tests are not always accurate. Even if you don’t have time to do stair-climbing or adjust your breathing while in front of an officer, police officers have their own methods of administering breathalyzers that could increase the results of your BAC. Police officers know that what part of breath the machine is exposed to can impact the results. Different parts of the exhalation will also give different BAC readings.
Patterns of breathing can impact breathalyzer results, so it is important to have an experienced advocate review your case. Officers are trained to make sure that tests are administered properly, but an inaccurate result could leave you with serious criminal charges, penalties, and a criminal record. An experienced advocate can review the results of your test, identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and work to minimize or eliminate charges and DUI penalties.