One of the most common questions people ask our Scottsdale DUI lawyers is, “How do I pass a breathalyzer test?” The following article discusses the following:

  • How breathalyzers work;
  • Myths surrounding passing breathalyzer tests; and
  • Conclusions on how to pass a breathalyzer test. 

How Breathalyzers Work

When a person consumes alcohol, alcohol travels to the stomach and small intestine, where it absorbs into the blood. The blood carries the alcohol throughout the body and into the brain and lungs. When a person who consumes alcohol exhales, they exhale that alcohol from their lungs.

A breathalyzer measures the amount of alcohol exhaled in a person’s breath from their lungs. The measurement from a breathalyzer is known as a blood alcohol content or BAC. A person’s BAC is at the highest concentration about an hour after consuming alcohol.

Police breathalyzers are usually handheld electronic devices with mouthpieces for drivers to blow into. Police often ask the driver to blow into the breathalyzer multiple times to obtain an average reading. The process takes about one or two minutes.

Myths Surrounding Passing Breathalyzers

Keeping in mind how breathalyzers work, it is easy to dispel the more common myths surrounding passing breathalyzer tests. These include the following:

  • Holding your breath. This may concentrate the air breathed out of the lungs and raise a BAC by up to 15%;
  • Burping. The breath tested in a breathalyzer comes from the lungs, not the stomach, so burping is not a factor. In fact, it could even increase BAC readings due to stomach alcohol content;
  • Gum or mints. These only cover up the smell of the breath, not alcohol exhaled from the lungs;
  • Using strong mouthwash. Using mouthwash may increase a BAC if that mouthwash is alcohol-based. Otherwise, it only serves to freshen the breath;
  • Smoking a cigarette. This may increase a person’s BAC due to the acetaldehyde in cigarettes;
  • Eating an absorbent material, like cotton. This only affects a person’s stomach, not alcohol exhaled from the lungs; 
  • Sucking on pennies. There is no scientific evidence showing that pennies affect breathalyzer tests; and
  • Drinking alcohol without an alcohol smell. This may affect a person’s breath but not the exhalation of alcohol from the body. 

There are studies showing that a variation in breathing patterns can change the results of a breathalyzer test. When tested, the first part of the breath had a lower BAC than the last part of the breath. However, it may prove difficult to replicate these results as a driver in a real-life situation.  

How To Pass a Breathalyzer Test

How do you pass a breathalyzer test? Do not drink and drive. Plan ahead and do one of the following:

  • Use a designated driver;
  • Call a rideshare company;
  • Take a taxi; or
  • Space out your drinks responsibly according to a reliable bodyweight BAC chart.

Remember, the breathalyzer is only one tool officers use to gauge driver sobriety. Law enforcement also uses more subjective tests like field sobriety tests to assess intoxication. You may refuse any sobriety or chemical testing, but there are consequences in Arizona for refusal.

If you or someone you know failed or refused a breathalyzer in Arizona and needs help now, the experienced legal team at Rosenstein Law Group can help. We offer a free initial consultation and will take your call anytime, day or night.

Rosenstein Law Group provides tough, smart, aggressive DUI defense throughout Arizona. We offer our clients high-quality legal representation that is compassionate and judgment-free.

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