Can You “Trick” a Breathalyzer?

When a law enforcement officer requests that a DUI suspect undergo a breath test to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC), some people agree because they believe they know a trick to skew the results of the breath test in their favor. Unfortunately, many of these tricks that people pass around are urban myths and they do not actually work to lower BAC readings. Some of them actually raise the BAC reading, so a DUI suspect may be putting themselves in an even worse position. The following are some common Breathalyzer and the truth about their effectiveness (or lack thereof).

  • Using mouthwash or breath spray — While sprays or mouthwash may make your breath smell better, they will not reduce the amount of alcohol in your breath. In fact, this could even result in a higher reading since many such products contain alcohol.
  • Belching instead of breathing into the Breathalyzer device — People may believe that belching instead of breathing will result in air coming from the stomach, which supposedly has less alcohol, rather than the lungs. Research has not shown that burping has any effect on breathalyzer readings, however.
  • Putting fabric in your mouth — Some people have put a piece of fabric in their mouths before blowing into the device, thinking that the fabric would filter the alcohol out of their breath by absorbing the alcohol. Evidence shows that this does not lower BAC results.
  • Drinking coffee — While the caffeine in coffee may help you feel more alert, it will not reduce the alcohol in your breath or bloodstream.
  • Sucking on a penny — Urban myth states that the metal from a penny will cause BAC results so high that they are not realistic and courts will assume that the device malfunctioned. This has been proven to be false.
  • Holding your breath — People believe that holding their breath will somehow affect their BAC results and they are right–one study showed that it increased BAC by over 15 percent.
  • Breathing quickly — Causing yourself to hyperventilate by breathing quickly for at least 20 seconds prior to blowing into the Breathalyzer device is the only trick that seems to yield positive results for a driver. By hyperventilating, you are quickly replacing the air in the lungs (which contains alcohol) with fresh air from outside. Studies show that this method can lower the BAC results by about 10 percent, though that may not be low enough to make much of a difference in a subsequent DUI case.

Contact an experienced Denver DUI defense attorney for assistance today

A lot of different factors can render breath test results inaccurate and an experienced DUI defense lawyer will know how to identify any issues with your breath test and skillfully use them in your defense. Jay Tiftickjian knows how to challenge alcohol test results in order to have your DUI dismissed or to limit the amount of penalties you may face. If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, do not delay in calling the Tiftickjian Law Firm in Denver for help today.

Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Transportation