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How to pass a breathalyzer test

If you’ve been convicted of a DUI-related offense or are under suspicion of drinking and driving, you’ll need to provide a breath sample. Learn how to do a breath test on an ignition interlock device, plus separate fact from fiction when it comes to beating a breathalyzer test.

When Is a Breath Test Required?

Breath tests are required for those suspected of drinking and driving. Law enforcement personnel utilize handheld breathalyzers for DUI prosecution.

If you have been convicted of a DUI-related offense, you might be required to submit a breath test to an ignition interlock device (IID) before starting your vehicle. If you’re on probation for an alcohol-related offense, you might be required to use an in-home breathalyzer.

Additionally, commercial breathalyzers provide a convenient, portable way to self-test your breath alcohol content (BrAC).

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer that is installed in your vehicle to prevent drinking and driving. It is made up of a mouthpiece, a handheld unit and a cord that attaches to your vehicle’s ignition system. You are required to blow into the mouthpiece to test your Breath Alcohol Concentration before starting your car.

If your Breath Alcohol Concentration is below the limit set by your state, your vehicle will start. If your Breath Alcohol Concentration is above your state’s limit, your vehicle will not start until you submit a breath sample that no longer detects alcohol.

How does a breathalyzer work?

A breathalyzer is a wireless, handheld device that monitors a user’s Breath Alcohol Content. To use a portable breathalyzer, the user must blow into the device for a few seconds in a steady stream. The device will indicate when to start and stop but this usually lasts for about 5 seconds. Sensors within a portable breathalyzer will then measure the alcohol level of air in the lungs and supply a Breath Alcohol Content estimate.

How to pass a breathalyzer test

Taking an ignition interlock breath test: The steps you need to know

Those with an ignition interlock device must pass a breath test before operating a vehicle. Follow these simple steps to perform a breath test on an Intoxalock ignition interlock device:

  1. Press the button on the handheld unit
  2. Wait until the LED displays “Blow”
  3. Breathe into the breathalyzer

If you are required to take a retest on your car breathalyzer, the ignition interlock device will alert you with a loud beep and a message displayed on the LED screen. If alcohol is detected during a retest, the ignition interlock device will not turn off your vehicle while it is in motion but it will give a signal for you to stop.

Are there different methods for taking a breath test?

To complete a breathalyzer test, you must submit a breath test using one of two methods. The first and most common breath alcohol test method requires you to blow, inhale, and then blow again into the mouthpiece.

Some states require you to blow just once into the device. Check your state’s requirements and the user manual of your Intoxalock ignition interlock device.

Can You Beat a Breathalyzer?

There are several myths about tricking a breath test on an ignition interlock device. However, you cannot beat a breathalyzer test.

Myth #1: Mouthwash and breath mints

Fact: Although they can mask the smell of alcohol, no breath freshener can change the amount of alcohol present in your breath. In addition, they can contain alcohol, increasing your Breath Alcohol Concentration.

Myth #2: Breathe Smarter

Fact: Breathing rapidly, holding your breath or tapering your breath at the end of a breathalyzer test will have little to no impact on results. Similarly, a breathalyzer requires you to expel anywhere from 30 to 40 percent of your lung capacity so you cannot trick it by inhaling.

If pulled over for drinking and driving, you can ask the officer if a field sobriety test is voluntary. If yes, you can decline, however you might face harsher penalties for your refusal if there are other signs of intoxication. To avoid a breath test or DUI, stay within your state’s legal blood alcohol limit or find a designated driver when drinking.

When using a personal breathalyzer, do not eat or drink for 15 to 20 minutes before operating to ensure the results are not altered by any contaminants in the mouth. It’s important to remember, regardless of the source of alcohol, you are held accountable for every Breath Alcohol Concentration reading that is submitted to your device.

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