How would you feel if you were pulled over for drunk driving and the officer asked how much alcohol you had consumed? You might be able to lie about how many drinks you’ve had, but there is one problem; they can make sure that it’s not true with a Breathalyzer test. Many people who are arrested for DUI think that they can easily pass any Breathalyzer test by chewing gum or drinking lots of water before the test. This article will show how these methods don’t work, and what steps you should take to ensure success on your next Breathalyzer test!
How Do Breathalyzers Work?
Breathalyzers work by determining how much alcohol is in the blood. Once you breathe into the device, it calculates how long it takes for each breath to get from your lungs to reach your mouth and how long it takes for you to exhale after breathing in. This data informs how fast or slow your body eliminates alcohol. The device then calculates how many grams of alcohol you have in your blood.
Breathalyzers may not be 100 percent accurate all the time, because they can’t always pick up on certain types of drugs or medications that a person has taken. In some cases, having diabetes or eating disorders could cause Breathalyzer readings to show as impaired even when the person is not drunk.
Blood Alcohol Concentration and Your Breath
The blood alcohol concentration is how much alcohol is in your blood. This number will change how quickly alcohol is eliminated from your blood and how long it takes for you to sober up. A person with a lower BAC can still be impaired and should not drive, but they will recover more quickly than someone who has a higher BAC.
The unit of measurement for the BAC is grams per 100 milliliters of blood (g/100mL). Different countries have different legal limits for how much alcohol it’s safe to drink while driving. The United States, for example, has a limit of 0.08 g/100mL. Keep in mind how much you’re drinking and how fast your body is eliminating the alcohol.
Alcohol Elimination Rate
The faster a person’s BAC decreases, the sooner they’ll be sober enough to drive again. Also known as an elimination rate, this measurement tells how many grams of alcohol are removed from 100 mL blood per hour (g/100mL/hour). The average person can eliminate about 0.015 g/100 mL/hour, but how quickly alcohol is eliminated depends on the number of drinks consumed. If you have a drink an hour then your BAC will go down by 15 percent each hour until it reaches zero grams per 100 milliliters (g/100mL).
Breathalyzer myths are everywhere. They exist because of how the justice system came to treating alcohol and drug use with penalizing consequences for failing a Breathalyzer test. Here I’ll debunk some of these myths:
Holding Your Breath
The first myth that I’ll address is how holding your breath can affect how clean your Breathalyzer test will be. This is false because it’s how long you’re blowing into the Breathalyzer machine, not how long you hold it in. The longer you hold your breath, the less air there is for alcohol to dissipate which will increase the amount of alcohol detected by the Breathalyzer.
Burping Or Vomiting
The next myth that I’ll address is how burping or vomiting can affect how clean your Breathalyzer test will be. This is also false because the amount of air for alcohol to dissipate depends on how long you’re blowing into the machine, not how long it takes for burps or vomit to come up. If you burp or vomit before blowing into the machine, there’s a lot of air space in your stomach and windpipe which means there’s more chance for any alcohol to be eliminated from your body.
Gum or Mints
Gum or mint water can increase saliva production while also diluting any alcohol molecules present in the mouth. But since these substances only last a short while, they cannot be used as reliable ways of fooling a Breathalyzer test. You should eat something that contains gluten instead – even just eating crackers will work! If gluten does not help, ask for medical attention because you might have a medical condition that prevents you from absorbing gluten.
Sucking On Pennies
The last myth I’ll address is how sucking on Pennies can affect how clean your Breathalyzer test will be. This one’s true – pennies are made of copper which is a metal that reacts with the acetone in your breath and produces a chemical called copper acetate. Copper acetate is not alcohol, so it won’t react to the chemicals in the Breathalyzer machine, meaning it will have no effect on how clean your Breathalyzer test will be.
Field Sobriety Tests
One of the tests that law enforcement officers use to determine how impaired a person is called field sobriety tests. These tests are designed to detect how impaired a person is on their ability to balance, walk in a straight line, etc. They’re commonly used to determine how drunk someone might be.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
There are 16 other field sobriety tests that officers can use to determine how impaired someone might be. One of these is called horizontal gaze nystagmus, or HGN. The officer looks at how a person’s eyes react when the officer moves their hands back and forth in front of their face. The officer checks how smoothly the person can follow their movement with their eyes. If there are jerky movements, it may indicate how drunk they are.
Another test that officers often use is called walk-and-turn. The individual has to follow instructions by taking nine heel-to-toe steps along a straight line, turning, and taking nine more steps back in the opposite direction. If they don’t perform this task correctly, it may indicate how drunk they are.
The One-Leg Stand Test
Another test that officers use is called the one-leg stand test. The officer tells the individual to keep their leg raised in front of them while counting out loud until told to put their foot down. If someone can’t do this for 30 seconds or longer, it may indicate how drunk they are.
The Finger-to-Nose Test
Another test that officers use is called the finger-to-nose test. The officer tells the individual to touch their nose with each hand, alternating back and forth between hands while counting out loud until told to stop. This helps determine how well a person’s eyes and hands work together, which may indicate how drunk they are.
These tests can be altered slightly to try to determine how impaired someone is on their ability to walk straight or keep their balance. Officers typically use these field sobriety tests in combination with a Breathalyzer test or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level when determining whether or not someone is impaired.
How to Actually Pass a Breathalyzer Test
- Make sure that you don’t drink at all before your test.
- Don’t eat anything that might make you burp, like soda or gum with sugar in it.
- If you can drink dairy products, they will help coat the inside of your throat and reduce how much carbon dioxide reaches the sensors on your tongue. – how to pass a Breathalyzer test
- Keep your mouth moist, but avoid anything that might be too acidic or cause you to salivate.
- Don’t try any home remedies like vinegar because they don’t work and may even make things worse.
- Don’t exercise before your test.
Keeping calm and relaxed during the test can also help people to do better, while things like clenching fists or jaw muscles may cause them to do worse. If someone does poorly on these tests, they should make sure not to argue with officers about how drunk they are because this may make them look even drunker.
Things That May Worsen Your Breathalyzer Test Results
There are many things that may worsen how well people do on the field sobriety tests, so it’s important for them to not eat anything four hours before the test, especially if they’ve eaten anything that contains garlic.
It’s also important not to smoke anything within two hours of taking the test because this also increases how badly people will do. Drinking any alcohol right before taking the test will also cause people to do worse on it because this will increase how much alcohol is in their system.
By now, you should know how to pass any Breathalyzer test and how the police may determine if someone has been drinking too much alcohol. Follow these tips throughout your life so that you can avoid getting behind the wheel after drinking or risk facing consequences for doing so.
How do you sober up to pass a breathalyzer? ›
There's no fast way to sober up once alcohol is in the bloodstream. The only way to sober up is to wait for the alcohol to metabolize. However, the body can only process a limited amount of alcohol per hour. Meaning if someone takes four shots of liquor in a row, those drinks enter their bloodstream one at a time.Does drinking water help pass a breathalyzer? ›
Our research shows that manipulations can alter BrAC readings. Specifically, hyperventilation and drinking water before using the breathalyzer were shown to significantly lower the BrAC readings.How long after drinking can you pass a breathalyzer test? ›
In Your Blood: Up to 6 hours. On Your Breath: 12-24 Hours. In Your Urine: 12-24 Hours.Will throwing up help pass a breathalyzer? ›
If you belch, hiccup, or vomit before a breathalyzer test, then you may register a higher alcohol reading than is accurate. Law enforcement officers are required to constantly observe a DUI suspect to make sure this does not happen. If you do any of these things then you should not be tested for at least 20 minutes.Does peanut butter help you pass a breathalyzer? ›
In short, using peanut butter to beat breathalyzer tests isn't an effective solution, and here's why: high levels of sodium found in peanuts and other legume by-products will neutralize ethanol (or alcohol) — but not by much.How many drinks does it take to show up on breathalyzer? ›
Standard Drinks and BAC
For every one drink, your BAC goes up by about 0.02 percent, so reaching a BAC of 0.08 percent takes about four to five drinks.
Products such as mouthwash or breath spray can 'fool' some breathalysers by significantly raising test results. Listerine mouthwash, for example, contains 27% alcohol.What is the only way to lower BAC? ›
The only way to effectively reduce your BAC is to spend time without drinking. You must allow your body enough time to absorb and dispose of the alcohol.Can I pass a breathalyzer if I drank the night before? ›
The more you drink, the longer the alcohol stays in your system. Generally, a breathalyzer test can test positive for alcohol for up to 12 hours after consuming one alcoholic drink. The average urine test can also detect alcohol 12-48 hours later.How long does 3 drinks stay in your system breathalyzer? ›
Alcohol detection tests can measure alcohol in the blood for up to 6 hours, on the breath for 12 to 24 hours, urine for 12 to 24 hours (72 or more hours with more advanced detection methods), saliva for 12 to 24 hours, and hair for up to 90 days. The half-life of alcohol is between 4-5 hours.
How long does it take to get to 0.00 BAC? ›
The only thing that sobers you up is time. After a big night out you may still be over your legal alcohol limit for much of the next day. After a heavy night of drinking, it can take more than 18 hours for your blood alcohol concentration to get back to zero.At what BAC Do you throw up? ›
BAC 0.15%: At this percentage, you may experience an altered mood, nausea and vomiting and loss of balance and some muscle control. BAC 0.15% to 0.30%: In this percentage range, you may experience confusion, vomiting and drowsiness.Does eating affect a breathalyzer? ›
How Does Eating Effect BAC? Eating before, or during the course of drinking, slows the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into a person's body. This decrease in absorption means less alcohol enters the bloodstream, as compared to the situation when no food is eaten.What foods can throw off a breathalyzer? ›
- Spicy Foods. Spicy meals are constantly used as an example that will cause 'false positive' results in Interlocks. ...
- Sugary Foods. One of the most common culprits is yeast. ...
- Fruit & Fruit Drinks. ...
- Vinegar. ...
- Energy Drinks. ...
- Vanilla Extract. ...
- Mouthwash. ...
- Breath Spray.
While it might come as a surprise, the over-consumption of caffeine could trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test.Can I pass a breathalyzer after 3 drinks? ›
For the average person, it only takes about three or four drinks in one hour to reach a BAC of 0.08. Given the general rule, if your blood alcohol content is at the limit of 0.08, it would go down to 0.065 after one hour.How many beers is 0.08 alcohol? ›
General Estimates. A 180-lb man may be able to drink 3.5 regular 12-ounce beers in one hour and keep his Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) under the legal limit of . 08%.Can you pass a breathalyzer after brushing your teeth? ›
Another IID manufacturer, SmartStart, explains that a breath test taken immediately after using these products could return a breath alcohol reading as high as 0.25 percent. For this reason, waiting at least 15 minutes after brushing teeth or rinsing with mouthwash is recommended.Can you brush your teeth before breathalyzer? ›
Conclusion: We recommend brushing teeth before the 14C urea breath test since it significantly decreased the ambiguous results of the test in our laboratory.Is there any way around a breathalyzer? ›
There are many myths about tricking a car breathalyzer into believing a person hasn't been drinking. There are many myths about tricking a breathalyzer into believing a person hasn't been drinking. In short, beating a car breathalyzer, formally known as an ignition interlock device (IID), is nearly impossible.
Does caffeine lower BAC sooner? ›
Caffeine has no effect on the metabolism of alcohol by the liver and thus does not reduce breath or blood alcohol concentrations (it does not “sober you up”) or reduce impairment due to alcohol consumption.Does breathing lower BAC? ›
Breathing patterns can reduce or lower BrAC
As he explains, hyperventilating and breathing deeply can reduce the breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) by 11 percent and 4 percent respectively while holding your breath can actually increase the BrAC reading by 6 to 12 percent.
Rate of Consumption & Potency of Drinks – The faster alcohol is consumed, the faster BAC will rise. Drink strength is also a variable that will affect BAC.How many drinks is .025 BAC? ›
How many drinks is 0.25 BAC? At 180 pounds, a woman would reach a BAC of around 0.25 by consuming ten drinks in two hours.Will 1 beer fail a breathalyzer? ›
Is one beer enough to fail breathalyzer? Thus, one 12-ounce can of beer, one 4-ounce glass of wine, or one normal mixed drink or cocktail are all equally intoxicating, and give the same blood alcohol content (BAC) reading on a breathalyzer.How much does BAC drop in an hour? ›
How Fast Can You Sober Up? Alcohol leaves the body at an average rate of 0.015 g/100mL/hour, which is the same as reducing your BAC level by 0.015 per hour.How long does it take to be 0.0 after 1 drink? ›
How do I stay below 0.05? There's no amount of drinking that guarantees you'll stay under 0.05% BAC. It generally takes the body about 1 hour to process 1 standard drink. However, two people can drink the same amount of alcohol and have different BACs.Does water dilute alcohol? ›
This is because alcohol is distributed through the body by the water in your bloodstream, according to the NIAAA. The more water in your blood, the more diluted the alcohol will be.What is the highest BAC ever recorded? ›
1.480 BAC. After a car crash that resulted in serious injuries, a Polish man's BAC was taken and it was 1.480%. That's the highest BAC ever recorded in known history. Doctors said he survived his brush with death due to drinking, but he later died due to his injuries from the car crash.How many drinks is 0.1 BAC? ›
After a man has three standard drinks, the equation changes even further: At 100 pounds, a man will have a BAC of 0.11. If he drinks them over one hour, he will have a BAC of 0.10, and if he drinks them over two hours, he will have a BAC of 0.08.
What can confuse a breathalyzer? ›
- You took the test too quickly after drinking.
- Officers did not calibrate the test correctly.
- You ate certain foods.
- You have certain medical conditions.
If you recently took medications or consumed certain foods, your breath may indicate the presence of alcohol even if you have not had a drink. Or this lingering, residual mouth alcohol can falsely increase your BAC reading.What is the fastest way to pass a breathalyzer? ›
You can beat a breathalyzer by hyperventilating, exercising, or holding your breath before you blow. Fact: An often-cited decades-old study found that hyperventilation and vigorous exercise did indeed lower subjects' BAC readings by as much as 10%.What neutralizes alcohol on the breath? ›
Gargle with an alcohol-containing mouthwash
A good gargle with mouthwash can definitely help mask the smell of booze on your breath temporarily. While most rinses will do the trick, you might get better results from fighting fire with fire.
- Food may help your body absorb alcohol.
- Water can help reduce your BAC.
- Avoid caffeine. It's a myth that coffee, energy drinks, or similar beverages alleviate intoxication quicker.
Will a sip of alcohol show up on a breathalyzer? Yes - but it depends on how BIG the sip is… It should soon disappear from your breath after 30 minutes or so - especially if you flush your mouth with water or another (non-alcoholic) drink.How long does it take to get to 0 BAC? ›
After a big night out you may still be over your legal alcohol limit for much of the next day. After a heavy night of drinking, it can take more than 18 hours for your blood alcohol concentration to get back to zero. Many people are booked for drink driving the next day.Can you get drunk off alcohol breath? ›
Alcohol can be absorbed into your bloodstream by inhaling alcohol vapors. People who inhale alcohol vapors get drunk very quickly, because the alcohol goes straight to the brain.Can your breath smell like alcohol without drinking? ›
If the individual has not been drinking but they still have alcohol breath it could signify an underlying medical condition. Sometimes bad breath could be mistaken as caused by alcohol when in fact it is due to a condition such as diabetes.Does drinking water dilute alcohol? ›
Water helps to dilute the alcohol in the body while food helps to slow down the body's alcohol absorption. Additionally, the person should immediately stop drinking. As mentioned, it will then take about one hour per alcoholic beverage consumed to sober up.