There are dozens of myths out there about what can throw off a breathalyzer to lower someone’s results. But few of these ideas actually are rooted in truth and if you are busted trying to cheat the breathalyzer, this can be used as further proof of your guilt. This is why you are better off remembering your rights during a DUI traffic stop and then calling a DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.
Myths About Cheating the Breathalyzer
There are a lot of theories about what can throw off a breathalyzer test, but almost all of these do nothing to help and some will actually hurt your test results. One of the most common myths is to suck on a penny because, as the theory says, the copper in the penny will neutralize the alcohol in your mouth. There are actually two problems with this. First, pennies aren’t actually made from a significant amount of copper these days. But even if you could find a coin made entirely from copper and it fully neutralized the alcohol in your mouth, this still wouldn’t matter because the breathalyzer is designed to test the alcohol from the breath deep in your lungs, not in your mouth -which is why police are supposed to wait at least 15 minutes before testing you.
Holding a battery in your mouth will give you the same result as the penny, only you might get a quick shock depending on the type of battery you use. Using mints or other things to hide the smell of the alcohol will also fail for the same reason, though it is worth noting that using mouthwash, which often contains alcohol, could actually increase the amount of alcohol that shows up in your blood stream. Some people also turn to mint to hide the smell of alcohol on their breath from an officer when they get pulled over, but this can honestly just make police more suspicious than anything else because they’ll wonder what you’re trying to hide.
Some people have turned to eating toilet paper or clothing to absorb the alcohol in their stomach and keep it from entering their blood stream. This would actually work if you did it while drinking, though you would get the same effect by simply eating food while drinking and it would be a lot easier on your digestive system. However if you’re doing it after you’ve been pulled over, you probably already have enough alcohol in your blood stream to render your efforts pointless.
There are those who say if you breath in while using the mouthpiece rather than out, this can throw off the breathalyzer. But these devices are designed to register when you are breathing in and out and this will not only fail to get you the results you want, but also make you look foolish.
Finally, some people claim that smoking can throw off a breathalyzer, and they’re right! The only problem is that heavy smokers tend to have higher levels of acetaldehyde in their system, meaning while this can affect the breathalyzer, it won’t affect it in your favor, but instead make your results higher!
What Can Throw off a Breathalyzer
There are actually many, many things that can throw off a breathalyzer result though, the only problem is that most of them make the results higher, not lower. In fact, drinking diet sodas, having a high fever, taking certain medications, fumes in the area, having diabetes, eating a low-carb diet and having acid reflux can all throw off a breathalyzer by giving you falsely high results. That’s why it’s important to write down every detail of your DUI experience before, during and after the traffic stop as soon as you can because things like these can help your lawyer fight your breathalyzer results.
As it turns out, there seems to only be one thing that can help lower the results of a breathalyzer. If you exercise or hyperventilate just before taking the test, your lungs will bring in new air that doesn’t have a chance to absorb as much of the alcohol in the capillaries of your lungs. Conversely, if you hold your breath before testing, you’ll actually get higher results. Obviously when you’ve been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, you probably won’t be able to get the chance to run a marathon or do a full workout just before blowing into the breathalyzer, so exercising probably isn’t an option. But hyperventilating may help. That being said, police are generally on the lookout for this sort of thing and will usually make sure you breathe normally into the breath test, so it won’t really help you in most cases.
If you are concerned about getting charged with drunk driving, one of the best things you can do to help your case is to stop worrying about what can throw off a breathalyzer and instead contact Peter M. Liss by calling (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024.
Creative Commons Image by Chris Taylor