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Can You Beat a Breathalyzer Test?

Can You Beat a Breathalyzer Test?

Can You Beat a Breathalyzer Test?

If you’ve been pulled over after having a few drinks, you might start to worry — what if the officer gives you a breathalyzer? Can you beat a breathalyzer test? There are some tricks you may have heard of, but they rarely work, and they can sometimes make your breathalyzer results even worse. The best way to beat a breathalyzer is also the simplest: Don’t drink and drive.



The best way to beat a breathalyzer is to not drink and drive in the first place.

How Breathalyzers Work

If a police officer pulls you over because they suspect you of driving under the influence (or if you drive through a sobriety checkpoint), you might be asked to take a field breathalyzer test. The result of a field breathalyzer cannot be used as evidence in court, but it’s considered probable cause for the officer to arrest you. If you’re charged, you may then be required to take a breathalyzer test on a more accurate machine at the police station or submit a blood or urine sample. The field breathalyzer and the breathalyzer at the station work in essentially the same way. When you take the test, here’s what happens:

  • You breathe out into the device, and your breath enters a chamber with a red-orange solution.
  • If there is alcohol present in your breath, the solution turns a shade of green.
  • A photocell in the device detects the degree of color change.
  • The photocell creates an electrical current.
  • The electrical current converts to a numerical value, which is your blood alcohol content (BAC).

If you’ve consumed alcohol very recently, the results may be artificially high. Generally, the most accurate readings come about 15 minutes after your last drink.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, now is not the time to take chances by using a public defender or representing yourself — too much is at stake. Instead, call 720-445-9887 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation today.

Common Tricks — and Why They Won’t Help You

Some Will Make Your Results Even Worse

There are all kinds of old wives’ tales about beating a breathalyzer: sucking on copper pennies, eating breath mints, eating peanut butter, and more. The only one that can have some success is hyperventilating. However, this method can reduce breathalyzer readings by 10% at most.

It’s helpful to put that into perspective. Imagine you’re pulled over, and your real BAC is 0.09. Ten percent of that value is 0.009, and 0.09 – 0.009 = 0.081. That breathalyzer reading is still over the legal limit, albeit slightly. Even if you hyperventilate effectively enough to lower your BAC by 10%, you’re still over the legal limit, and your actual BAC was barely over the legal limit in the first place. Hyperventilating is unlikely to lower your breathalyzer results in any meaningful way, and It’s also likely to make you appear even more drunk than you are. When you’re dizzy and lightheaded from hyperventilating, you probably aren’t going to do well on a field sobriety test.

What about the other methods? Mints, gum, and mouthwash make your breath smell less like alcohol, so they should trick a breathalyzer, right? Not so. Breathalyzers aren’t analyzing the smell of your breath. Instead, they’re measuring your blood alcohol content indirectly through your breath. You might be familiar with the gas exchange between your respiratory and circulatory systems. When you breathe in fresh air, oxygen is transferred from your lungs to your bloodstream. Your bloodstream transfers carbon dioxide to your lungs, and you breathe it out.

Oxygen and carbon dioxide aren’t the only molecules that move between your blood and your lungs during gas exchange. Some of the molecules of alcohol in your blood become aerosolized, and when your blood transfers carbon dioxide to your lungs, it sends over some of the aerosolized alcohol molecules, too. You breathe them out along with carbon dioxide. And just as a breathalyzer doesn’t detect carbon dioxide, it won’t be affected by the extra molecules introduced by mints or gum.

Tenacious Defense When You Need It Most

You Deserve an Advocate Who Will Fight for You in Court

Now, you know that the answer to “Can you beat a breathalyzer test?” is almost always no. Colorado DUI laws are strict. A conviction often results in jail time, fines, and license suspension. You might lose your job, and if you don’t, you could find it harder to secure employment in the future. In a high-stakes situation like being accused of DUI, you need an experienced defense attorney who knows the law and can build a strong, customized defense. Defense attorney Kevin Cahill believes every person deserves excellent legal representation, and if you choose him, that’s exactly what you get.

Accused of a DUI? Call Kevin at 720-445-9887 or fill out the online contact form for a free initial consultation.

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