For years, rumors have floated around the Kalamazoo area about ways to “beat” a DUI breath test. That is, if a police officer or sheriff’s deputy pulls you over and asks you to blow into their roadside breath test device, there are supposedly ways you can hide a high blood-alcohol content from the machine.
While the roadside devices and the breath test machines at southwest Michigan’s police stations are not perfect, they are highly sophisticated equipment. <a href=”https://www.findlaw.com/dui/arrests/how-to-trick-a-breathalyzer-myths.html” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>You cannot fool one of these machines</a> by doing any of the following:
<li><strong>Sucking on a penny. </strong>Supposedly, the copper in pennies can mask alcohol on a person’s breath. But it isn’t true. Besides, pennies are mostly made of zinc.</li>
<li><strong>Freshening your breath. </strong>Chewing gum, having a breath mint or gargling mouthwash covers up the odor of alcohol on your breath but does not affect a breathalyzer’s accuracy.</li>
<li><strong>Eating or drinking. </strong>Food will not “sop up” alcohol that is already in your bloodstream, and drinking water will not dilute the alcohol in your system quickly enough to make a difference.</li>
<li><strong>Hyperventilating or holding your breath. </strong>Technically, these techniques can throw off a breath test’s results, but only if you do one of them precisely right and just before taking the test. The officer will probably get suspicious.</li>
<li><strong>Belching. </strong>Burping just before or during the breath test does not skew the device’s reading.</li>
But this is not to say that if you blow a .08 percent or higher, you are definitely guilty of <a href=”/drunk-driving/”>drinking and driving</a>.
<h2>Real reasons breathalyzers can fail</h2>
Breath test machines are only as accurate as the human operating it. They must be properly calibrated before use. An uncalibrated device can give an artificially high reading and cause a driver to be unfairly arrested for DUI. Also, the devices can mistake excess acetone on a person’s breath (a common symptom of diabetes) for alcohol.