It can be quite a bummer if you’re out to have a good time but are hesitant about drinking. You’ve asked yourself, “One little drink won’t matter, will it?” After a few drinks, you can still get home in one piece, can’t you? We’ve all been down that road of gauging whether it is safe to drive after having had a drink or two. And most of us ask: “how long can a breathalyzer detect alcohol?”
Everyone knows that drunk driving can lead to injuries, deaths, and property damage. Driving under the influence (DUI) will get you arrested and penalized. The law can suspend your license, or you can face fines, legal fees, and community service.
When you do get behind the wheel after a few drinks, police can pull you over and give you a breathalyzer test. The test will tell whether you’ve imbibed above or below the legal blood alcohol content (BAC).
Why do we enforce DUI laws? Because we want to prevent alcohol-related accidents and deaths. Ignition interlock devices or breathalyzers can detect alcohol and measure blood alcohol concentration. This helps discourage and prevent alcohol-impaired driving.
How Breathalyzers Work
Have you ever wondered how long can a breathalyzer detect alcohol? Is it possible to beat a Breathalyzer test?
Breathalyzers measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in a sample of your breath. Police have been using breathalyzers since the 1940s to measure how much ethanol is in the breath. This allows the police to check people’s intoxication while working in the field. It is illegal to operate a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent (80 mg of ethanol in 100 mL of blood) or above.
How Long Can a Breathalyzer Test Detect Alcohol on Your Breath?
How long after drinking can a breathalyzer detect alcohol? Breathalyzers come into two categories: for personal use or professional use. Professional-grade models have high accuracy and sensitivity. Law enforcement uses advanced fuel cell sensor technology for roadside alcohol testing.
It’s important to understand that you cannot “beat” a breathalyzer. With regular maintenance and calibration, breathalyzers are both accurate and reliable. How long can a breathalyzer test detect alcohol comes down to how you metabolize alcohol.
Alcohol that enters your body and bloodstream can only exit through two means. Ten percent leaves through your urine, breath, and sweat, and you metabolize 90 percent in the body.
One standard drink (containing 14 grams of alcohol) will increase your BAC by 0.02. This may vary based on your body size, gender, and other factors. Several alcoholic drinks at once make it hard for your liver to process the alcohol right away. Alcohol then accumulates in your blood, leading to a higher BAC. On average, three or four drinks in one hour can cause you to reach a BAC of 0.08.
Breathalyzers can detect alcohol within 15 minutes of your first drink. So how long can a breathalyzer test detect alcohol? As long as the alcohol is in your system, nothing can make you appear sober. Sleeping it off, taking a cold shower, or drinking coffee won’t make you appear to be any less drunk or any soberer. Only time can lower your BAC.
The best way to prevent a DUI is to not drink and drive. You need to be smart about your drinking and always have a backup plan to get home.
It is within your legal right to decline a breathalyzer test. If you do refuse to take the test, the police may ask you to do a coordination test instead. They could ask you to walk in a straight line or touch your nose. If they take you into custody, they will ask you for a blood sample. They’ll use the sample for a more accurate lab-based BAC evaluation.
How to Beat a Breathalyzer Test
The one action that will reduce your BAC is to hyperventilate before taking the test. When you hyperventilate, you replace the alcoholic gas in your lungs with fresh air. You will still test positive for alcohol but you can reduce your BAC test value by up to 10%. This may be enough to help you beat the test. However, the police might even be more suspicious if you start huffing and puffing before the test.
Cheating a sobriety test is not a solution. Alcohol intoxication impairs you mentally. Driving while drunk puts you and everyone else on the road around you in danger.
Now, If you’ve had a few too many drinks in one night but still need to drive, consider using an ETG Alcohol Test Strip. All it takes is five minutes to check if your BAC level is low enough to drive safely.
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