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Articles » BAC » Common Myths About Breathalyzers or BAC

Common Myths About Breathalyzers or BAC

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By StraightDUI Staff on 4/28/2008

If you left an event, a club or a party and had consumed more alcohol than you should have, there’s a good chance that your driving will be somewhat erratic and will attract the attention of the police. And when a police officer pulls you over, in all likelihood he or she will probably give you a Breathalyzer test, which is used to determine the level of alcohol concentration in your bloodstream. The Breathalyzer is fairly accurate, and gives law enforcement almost immediate results. But based on the high numbers of people stopped for drinking and driving, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that many of those who drink and drive try to find ways to fool the Breathalyzer into giving a lower reading.

Can you Fool the Breathalyzer?

Is there any way to actually fool the Breathalyzer into showing a lower BAC reading? Before getting into the details as to whether you can fool the Breathalyzer, you should know that it is actually a myth that a Breathalyzer measures the concentration of alcohol in a person’s blood. Breathalyzers don’t actually measure BAC, which in fact can only be measured by analyzing a sample of blood, but instead a Breathalyzer estimates the concentration of alcohol in the blood. What an alcohol breath tester detects are chemical compounds that contain the methyl group. Breath testers also assume certain ratios within the human body, that in actuality vary from person to person and even within the same person over time. In most states, a breath test can be used as an assumption in a DUI trial, which means the person who has been arrested, must disprove the evidence against them.

The Myths about Breathalyzers and BAC

There are a lot of people who believe a variety of myths regarding a Breathalyzer and BAC. For example, some actually think that sucking on pennies lowers a BAC reading but that is totally false. Some think that breath mints can fool a breath analysis test, but they only mask the odor of alcohol rather than changing the alcohol content of the breath. Other people believe that alcohol on the breath is a reliable sign of alcohol consumption and intoxication, when in fact the breath of a person who drinks a non-alcoholic beer will smell the same as that of a person who consumed alcoholic beer. Other people think that anyone who doesn’t drink alcohol are “alcohol free” and therefore cannot be arrested for a DUI, but the human body produces its own supply of alcohol naturally on a continuous basis all day, every day. Therefore we always have alcohol in our bodies and in some cases, some people produce enough to become legally intoxicated. Other fallacies when it comes to Breathalyzers are that they are always accurate but in truth, many errors are made in breath testers because they lack precision. Still others think that Law Enforcement Officers can’t influence a BAC Reading, but they can and they do. The concentration of alcohol changes during the breathing, therefore the first part of the breath has an alcohol concentration much lower than the equivalent BAC, while the last part of the breath has a higher concentration of alcohol that is much higher than the equivalent BAC.

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