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Do tricks to beat breathalyzer tests really work?

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2024 | DWI Defense

The idea of “beating” a breathalyzer test is an intriguing one. After all, it can be surprisingly easy to think that you’re sober enough to drive when, in reality, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit. It doesn’t matter if you feel fine, if your BAC is too high, you could face serious consequences if you’re arrested and charged with impaired driving.

Various myths and misconceptions abound, suggesting that certain tactics can skew the results of a breathalyzer test, potentially lowering BAC readings. However, the truth is that most of these alleged tricks do not withstand scrutiny.

Breathalyzer tests: Myths and reality

Breathalyzer devices are designed to measure the amount of alcohol in an individual’s breath, thereby estimating their BAC. These machines use sophisticated technology to analyze a breath sample, making it extremely difficult to manipulate the results intentionally. 

One popular myth suggests that chewing gum or mints can mask the alcohol levels in one’s breath. However, breathalyzers measure alcohol from the lungs’ deep lung air, not just the mouth’s environment. Therefore, substances like gum or mints have no impact on BAC readings.

Another myth involves using breath sprays or mouthwash to fool a breathalyzer. Ironically, many of these products contain alcohol and can temporarily increase the BAC readings rather than lowering them.

Some individuals believe that hyperventilating, holding their breath or breathing shallowly before taking a test can alter the results. While these actions might slightly affect the reading by changing the ratio of alcohol in the breath to blood, they are not reliable methods and are easily detectable by trained officers.

Ultimately, attempting to cheat a breathalyzer test is not only ineffective but can also result in additional legal troubles. Law enforcement officers are trained to identify such tactics, which can be interpreted as evidence of guilt or an attempt to obstruct justice, potentially leading to harsher penalties or additional charges.