Manipulating the Breath Test Results

Posted on 07-15-2015 by
Tags: Trending News & Topics

There are numerous myths surrounding DUIs, several of which are completely false and have no basis in fact. Many of these “DUI myths” involve the breath test and possible ways of manipulating breath test results.

When a person is stopped and arrested for a DUI offense, they will typically be given the option of submitting a breath sample for testing. The driver will be asked to provide a breath sample on a Preliminary Alcohol Sensor (“PAS”) device during the DUI investigation phase. Once arrested, the driver will be given the option of providing either a breath or blood sample for testing. If the driver selects the breath test, he or she will be asked to provide a breath sample using the Breathalyzer machine that usually kept at the police station.

Many people have heard that putting a penny in their mouth or eating or drinking immediately before taking the breath test can affect the results of the test. This is simply not true. The zinc and copper in a penny have no effect on the breath test, contrary to popular belief. Additionally, chewing gum, eating food, or drinking water before a test will not alter the results in any way. Using mouthwash can impact the results of a breath test and can lead to abnormally high BAC readings due to the alcohol content in many brands of mouthwash. Thus someone hoping to avoid a DUI would not do themselves any favors by using mouthwash immediately before taking a breath test.

There are certain things that can affect the results of a DUI breath test. Studies have shown that breathing technique can have an effect on BAC readings. In these studies, groups of men all consumed the same amount of alcohol and were asked to blow into a Breathalyzer with various breathing patterns. Men who held their breath for 30 seconds before blowing into the device had a BAC that was approximately 15% higher than those who did not hold their breath. On the other hand, when the tester hyperventilated for 20 seconds and then tested, his BAC results were approximately 10% lower than usual.  Test takers who only shut their mouths and breathed through their nose for five minutes prior to testing had BAC results that were 7% higher than normal and those who tested after a 20 second exhalation experienced BAC results that were 2% higher.

It is clear that the concentration of alcohol in the breath sample is affected by the test subject’s breathing patterns. Law enforcement officers are aware of this and often encourage test takers to breath harder into testing devices. This ensures that air from the bottom of the lungs is tested. This air tends to have the highest concentration of alcohol.

In some cases, people arrested for DUI will be unable to provide a suitable breath sample while testing. The test taker may be pretending to breathe to avoid a DUI, however he or she may suffer from a medical condition that prevents them from complying with this test. If you have been arrested for DUI, be sure to call a local DUI attorney immediately.


Posted on : 15 Jul 2015 6:31 PM

This is really intersteing information- I do some DUI/OVI work in OH and KY and the breathing pattern percentages are very helpful. Thank you for sharing!

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