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Can you effectively trick a breath test device?

On Behalf of | May 31, 2024 | DUI

The question of whether you can effectively trick a breath test device, commonly used to measure blood alcohol content (BAC) during DUI stops, is one that has long been surrounded by myths and misinformation. 

The short answer is no, you cannot effectively trick a breath test device. These devices are designed to be highly accurate and are continually updated to prevent manipulation. 

Common myths debunked

Several myths suggest that certain actions can lower your BAC reading on a breath test. Before you try any of the following “tricks,” consider why they are a true waste of your time:

  • Mouthwash or breath fresheners: These products often contain alcohol themselves and can actually increase a BAC reading rather than lower it.
  • Eating food: While food can slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, it does not eliminate alcohol that is already present. The breath test measures alcohol in the lungs, not the stomach, so eating won’t effectively trick the device.
  • Holding your breath or hyperventilating: Holding your breath can increase BAC readings by allowing more time for alcohol to accumulate in the breath, while hyperventilating can cause slight variations but is unlikely to significantly alter the outcome. 
  • Coins or other objects in the mouth: Breath test devices are designed to detect alcohol in the deep lungs’ air, not substances in the mouth. 

Modern breath test devices are equipped with sophisticated technology to ensure accuracy. They use infrared spectroscopy or fuel cell sensors to detect alcohol molecules specifically, minimizing the likelihood of false readings. Law enforcement agencies (usually) regularly calibrate and maintain these devices to uphold their reliability in court.

Attempting to trick a breath test device is not only ineffective but also illegal. If caught trying to manipulate the results, you could face charges or penalties related to these efforts alone, including obstruction of justice or tampering with evidence. These actions can complicate your legal situation and damage your credibility in court.