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Common myths regarding breath tests

| Sep 24, 2020 | Drunk Driving

Police officers in Pennsylvania commonly use handheld devices to measure the breath-alcohol content of motorists suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. A reading of 0.08 or more represents probable cause to arrest the driver. The collection of the blood and breath readings used as evidence in court happens once the driver reaches the station.

In many cases, it may be wise to challenge the evidence that the prosecution plans to use in an attempt to gain a DUI conviction against a motorist. But what makes little to no sense is attempting one of the many tricks said to be capable of fooling a Breathalyzer machine into registering a lower reading.

A certain percentage of alcohol consumed when drinking makes its way into the lungs. The alcohol detection instruments used to test a driver’s breath measure the presence of alcohol through the use of infrared light waves. The machine is then able to convert this data into an estimate of alcohol percentage in the blood. It is important to understand this fact when discussing the failed tricks that motorists employ to “trick” the test.

One popular myth is that the copper content of a penny may result in a lower breath test reading if a person sucks on the penny for a bit. No information supports this theory. It is also worth noting that the primary material in pennies is zinc.

Some motorists believe that if they mask the smell of alcohol on their breath with gum or mints, this act will foil the efforts of a Breathalyzer machine. However, these machines measure the presence of ethanol, which is odorless.

Drinking a lot of coffee and water is another bit of advice commonly traded between motorists with a tendency to drink and drive. However, additional fluids are not likely to dilute the blood-alcohol content in a way that will alter test results.

Other tricks include eating a lot of food, holding the breath and burping. None of these tricks have proven effective against a Breathalyzer.

Individuals arrested on suspicion of drunk driving will need to prepare a credible defense for themselves to protect against potential damage. A criminal defense attorney may represent a person who needs to defend themselves against DUI allegations.