Is It Possible to Trick a Breathalyzer Test?
There are many misconceptions regarding what Breathalyzer test are and are not capable of doing and whether or not a person can actually “trick” one during a roadside test. Today, we’re going to take a look at what separates fact from fiction.
Fiction: Mouthwash, breath mints, and other breath fresheners can be used to disguise the presence of alcohol and lower blood alcohol content (BAC) readings.
Fact: It is wise to look before you choose to gargle. Breath fresheners, including sprays, mints, and gum, may mask the odor of alcohol, but they will not alter the amount of alcohol that is present on one’s breath. Be forewarned that some types of mouthwash actually contain alcohol, which can inflate BAC levels and readings.
Fiction: Sucking on a penny will assist you in beating a Breathalyzer test.
Fact: This urban myth has become surprisingly popular in recent years. Unfortunately, it is 100% false. Using copper pennies or any other type of metal currency to s uck on or place under your tongue will not produce any effect on a Breathalyzer test. Likewise, other purported elixirs, like snake oil, garlic, charcoal pills, or herbal formulas, will not work either – regardless of what you might read on the Internet or hear from others.
Fiction: Breathalyzer tests work better on non-smokers than they do on smokers.
Fact: There is an organic compound, called acetaldehyde, which is present in significantly higher levels in smokers’ lungs than compared to those of non-smokers. Some cheaper, semiconductor Breathalyzer tests could potentially be affected by rather high levels of acetaldehyde; however, fuel cell sensored, professional grade Breathalyzer tests will not be. In general, most law enforcement agencies utilize high tech Breathalyzer devices that will not be affected by this compound, regardless of the levels present.
Fiction: The results of a Breathalyzer test can be affected by holding your breath, exercising, or hyperventilating before blowing into the device.
Fact: A single, decades old study, which is often cited, did discover that vigorous exercise and hyperventilation did actually affect subjects’ BAC readings by lowering them as much as 10%. On the other hand, subjects who held their breath actually increased their BAC readings by as much as 20%. The downside is that these activities can also leave you gasping for air and feeling rather light headed. This type of behavior is undoubtedly going to garner the attention of law enforcement officials when they suspect that a person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, the idea of blowing lightly into a Breathalyzer device is of little to no use. Professional grade units possess air pump technology that can provide accurate BAC readings with even the smallest breath samples.
Fiction: Breathalyzer tests can be used as evidence against you in a New Hampshire court of law.
Fact: Breathalyzers tests are used by law enforcement officials as preliminary roadside screening tools to assess the condition of motorists believed to be driving while intoxicated. While the test results of these devices assist officers in determining whether or not a person is drunk and should or should not be arrested, the test results are not always admissible in a court of law.
Fiction: Breathalyzer tests are 100% accurate 100% of the time.
Fiction: Almost all modern Breathalyzer tests can accurately determine whether or not alcohol is present in a breath sample; however, the accuracy of such tests varies greatly. There are a number of factors that can affect accuracy. In general, device models are divided into one of two categories: professional grade models used by law enforcement and those designed for personal use by the general public. Professional grade models offer extremely high sensitivity and accuracy, and these models employ advanced fuel cell sensor technology identical to that used by police officers for alcohol testing roadside.
At the same time, because prices for these advanced fuel cell models have lowered significantly in recent years, they have become increasingly popular among the general public for personal use. All modern Breathalyzer devices must periodically be calibrated in order to ensure their accuracy. Failing to do so can have a significant effect on the accuracy of blood alcohol content readings. Along the same vein, police officers must be adequately trained to use these devices in order to produce accurate readings.
Fiction: Breathalyzer devices can only be used to measure for the presence of alcohol – not anything else.
Fact: Different types of substances that possess small amounts of alcohol can create false positives in Breathalyzer tests. Two common examples of such substances would be toothache medications and mouth washes. Moreover, some personal use Breathalyzer devices could measure compounds that have a similar molecular structure to that of alcohol. Acetone is one such compound, and it is commonly found on the breath of people who follow high protein diets and in individuals who have diabetes. Other substances that can also produce false positives include adhesives, plastics, rubbing alcohol, cleaning chemicals, varnish, and paint fumes.
The only “foolproof” method of beating a Breathalyzer test is to ensure that you stay informed of your blood alcohol content by carefully tracking how much you have to drink. Know how your body processes alcohol. Keep track of how many drinks you have, and never get behind the wheel of a car if you are intoxicated. This way, you’ll never have to worry about beating or tricking a Breathalyzer test.
Should you happen to be charged with a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, your next move should be to contact one of our experienced New Hampshire DWI attorneys immediately. Even the most well-informed persons make mistakes, but a DWI charge does not have to ruin your life. Your initial consultation is 100% free, and we can be reached through our website, email, or via telephone.