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Hygiene products may influence breath test results

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2017 | Criminal Defense, Firm News |

Maybe you have heard the urban myth that you can beat a breathalyzer simply by sucking on a penny, which has been around since at least 1994, according to Snopes. Even though the myth is completely false, people still try it today. Many attempt to fool a breathalyzer using mints or mouthwash. Not a good plan, because these products often contain small amounts of alcohol that will actually inflate the blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Many of the things you eat or wear can change BAC levels when taking a breath test. For example, yeast breads such as sourdough and white create a residual amount of alcohol that does not bake off. Some foods rely on fermentation, a process that turns sugar into alcohols. When the residue of alcohol remains on or near your mouth, it may influence test results. A news reporter in North Carolina blew a BAC of 0.015 after eating a Honey Bun without having consumed any alcohol prior to consuming the bun. Certain medical conditions may affect the test results, also.

Household items that can affect breath tests:

  • Medications, cough syrups, sleep aids and other prescription drugs
  • Vitamins
  • Mouthwashes
  • Breath mints and sugarless gums
  • Breath freshener spray
  • After-shaves or cosmetics that are used near the mouth
  • Asthma inhalers

Are breath tests accurate?

Most professional commercial grade breathalyzers are fairly accurate, but there are several factors that can affect accuracy. If you find yourself being arrested for a DUI after a failed breath test, remember what you ate and did prior to getting in your car. This information could help your defense attorney build a case that proves the test failed due other circumstances.

Have a legal advocate on your side

A DUI is a serious matter, and you should make sure you have legal representation throughout the process for the best possible outcome. A DUI carries harsh penalties, even though in South Dakota it is a misdemeanor. You could face a loss of your driver’s license, jail time, fines and other penalties to ensure you do not drink and drive.

Do not attempt to trick a breathalyzer test, as it could backfire. Instead, know your rights and responsibilities. If you do drink, do it responsibly and have a designated driver. After one drink, wait a few minutes before getting out on the road. If you are stopped by the police, make a point to remember everything that happens to help your attorney create a solid defense.