Taking a breathalyzer test is pretty simple – you just blow into the device at the instruction of the police officer and submit your breath sample. But positive breathalyzer readings come with a variety of penalties, from temporary license restrictions and vehicle seizures for those who blow between .05 and .08 to ignition interlock programs for those who have blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) over .08, so there are a lot of misconceptions as to how accurate they are.
One Alberta man was so convinced his two breathalyzer readings were inaccurate he took his breathalyzer test results all the way to the Alberta Court of Appeals. Why did he think his breathalyzer reading was off? His lawyer stated that his burping in the back of the police cruiser before he took the breathalyzer tests created mouth alcohol, and that caused his reading to be higher than it should have been. Needless to say, his appeal was dismissed, and he now faces impaired driving penalties in Alberta including fines and an ignition interlock program.
At the end of the day, the Alberta man admitted to drinking 9 alcoholic drinks between 6 pm and 2 am, and his breathalyzer results were found to be .14 and .13. Although everyone will metabolize alcohol in different ways, it takes the average person 2 hours to metabolize a single drink, so the odds of him being over the legal limit when he was stopped at 4 am are high.
This is just an example of the many appeals brought to the justice system because of breathalyzer test misconceptions. Some common breathalyzer myths include:
- Eating certain foods like bread or other yeasty foods will affect your breathalyzer reading
- Using mouthwash will mask the alcohol on your breath so you won’t blow over .08
- Holding your breath or hyperventilating before you submit to a breath test will affect your reading
When it comes to breathalyzer tests, the bottom line is this – if you have alcohol in your system, it will register on the breath test, and if you don’t want to endure the penalties of an impaired driving charge, don’t drink and drive.