Every one of us has experienced fear in a particular situation—especially when the police are involved. In fact, the fear that arises when one is being pulled over is extremely common, and police officers are trained on how to handle a person’s fears. Of course, if you have been drinking and you are pulled over, your fear is likely to be even greater. Fear can lead to impulsive and irrational decisions, including attempting to trick or fool a breathalyzer test. Regardless of what you may have heard, such tricks rarely work and may lead to even bigger problems for you.
Two Rounds of Breathalyzers
It is important to understand that there two different types of breathalyzer tests typically administered during a stop for suspected driving under the influence (DUI). The first is a preliminary test, which provides a basis on which the officer will conduct the rest of the stop. Preliminary blood-alcohol content (BAC) testing is not admissible in court and officers may administer preliminary tests in a fairly casual manner. It is during the preliminary tests that those inclined to try to manipulate the test results are likely to do so.
The second round of testing is conducted after a person has been arrested on suspicion of DUI. There are specific protocols that the officer must follow when conducted the second test, as the results of this round are usually used as evidence during prosecution. For example, the officer will observe the suspect for a prescribed amount of time to ensure he or she does not put anything in his or her mouth that could affect the test.
Pennies, Mouthwash, and Sprays
As the officer approaches your car, it may be tempting to rinse your mouth with mouthwash or breath spray. Or, perhaps you have heard that putting a penny in your mouth will cause a breathalyzer to give a lower reading. The short answer is do not bother with these types of tricks. To begin with, many types of mouthwash and breath sprays actually contain alcohol, and while a breathalyzer is not really focused on alcohol in a subject’s mouth, the residual amounts could cause the preliminary test results to show higher than they otherwise would show. Breathalyzers take samples of deep lung air—which is why the officer will ask you to continue exhaling for as long as you can. Putting items in your mouth or attempting to mask the smell of alcohol will have no effect on the traces of alcohol deep in your lungs.
If you are afraid of failing a breath test, you could refuse to take it. Refusing a preliminary test does not carry criminal or administrative consequences, but your refusal could prompt the officer to look even more closely for other signs of impairment. Refusing a test after you have been arrested will result in the suspension of your driving privileges, but so will failing. Many believe that you are better off dealing with the suspension rather than providing the police with additional evidence to be used against you.
Call Us for Help
When you have been arrested and charged with DUI, you need an attorney on your side who will fight to protect your rights. Contact an experienced Elgin DUI defense lawyer for help. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola today.