If you ever get pulled over and are under suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), also known as driving under the influence (DUI), you’ll most likely have to perform a breath test using a device known generically as a breathalyzer (also called an intoxilyzer). This device measures your blood alcohol content (BAC).
Here’s what you should know…
In many cases, when a cop performs a breath analysis he will tell you to blow into the breathalyzer as long and hard as possible. This is not to get a sufficient sample – the purpose is to convict you with a higher blood alcohol content reading.
You see, when we breathe we seldom take deep breaths. Alcohol molecules lay in the bottom of our lungs at a much denser level than in our upper lungs because normal breathing doesn’t disturb them. By getting defendants to blow long and hard into the breathalyzer the cop is able to get deep lung air (DLA) into the sampling which is much richer in alcohol content than the normal breath would result.
The breathalyzer testing process is designed for normal breathing because not everyone has the same lung capacity. This way, most people will be able to give a sufficient sample for testing without using DLA. This is why there is a tone on the breathalyzer that signals when the air sample is sufficient to test, but cops insist that you should blow longer. That’s not fair.
With all this in mind, here are two things you should do if you are stopped for a DUI.
First, blow into the breathalyzer normally only until the tone sounds. Second, as you are headed to the station and waiting for the breath test, you should be breathing with slow and long deep breaths so the air in your lungs can be exchanged with outside air that is not filled with alcohol molecules. The fresh air in the lung will not give as strong a sampling of alcohol since it is fresh.
Actions That Will Make Your Blood Alcohol Test Worse
Using breath sprays are a bad idea. Most contain alcohol and always give higher readings as long as 20 minutes after using them. The same goes for mouthwash. Also it is not a good idea to hold your breath because it does not allow the alcohol to diffuse in your lungs. And lastly, burping into the breathalyzer doesn’t work either and usually results in higher readings.