AggressiveCriminal Defense For Texans

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No, you can’t “beat” a breathalyzer

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | DWI

The idea of “beating” a breathalyzer test during a DWI stop is an enticing one. It’s also a common myth that persists among drivers. Attempts to outsmart this kind of device are not only ineffective but can also lead to further legal complications. 

Breathalyzer tests measure the concentration of alcohol in one’s breath, which correlates to an individual’s overall blood alcohol content (BAC). The device uses a chemical reaction involving alcohol that produces a color change or an electrical response, which is then translated into a BAC reading. These devices are (usually) calibrated and maintained to provide accurate readings that are admissible in court. And, they can’t be “beaten.”

Why not?

The notion of beating a breathalyzer is fundamentally flawed because the BAC measurement is based on alcohol absorbed into the blood, which is then exchanged into the lungs. Attempts to mask or alter breath samples do not change the concentration of alcohol in the blood. Moreover, modern breathalyzers are equipped to detect mouth alcohol and typically require a deep lung sample, which minimizes the effect of any residual substances in the mouth.

Several myths suggest various ways to beat a breathalyzer, such as sucking on pennies, eating onions, using mouthwash or holding one’s breath. These methods are based on the false premise that you can alter the amount of alcohol detected from your breath. However, these tricks do not affect the BAC level measured by the breathalyzer. Techniques like using mouthwash can even increase the BAC readings due to the alcohol content in these products.

Attempting to cheat on a breathalyzer test can lead to charges, such as obstructing a police officer or tampering with evidence. Such actions can aggravate an already stressful situation, leading to harsher penalties or diminished credibility in court.