A common question is, can you beat breathalyzer tests, and the most common answer is, yes – by not drinking and driving. However, it seems from the many tips for beating breathalyzers available online that many people believe they have have found the secret to doing both. But do they really work – can you really beat a breathalyzer test and get away with drinking and driving?
The answer is yes and no, depending on which breath test is in question.
There are two breathalyzer tests involved in drunk driving stops and arrests.
The Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) Breathalyzer Test
This is conducted at the roadside with a portable breathalyzer and it’s purpose is to gain or strengthen probable cause for an arrest. (See Breath Tests at the Roadside – aka PAS tests for more information.)
- This particular breathalyzer test is easy to beat – in all states except Montana you have the right to refuse a PAS breath test, with no penalties (unless under 21 or on probation). DWI/DUI lawyers advise that you exercise this right.
- However, as you can see from the first item in the alcohol limits chart, you can still be charged with DUI/DWI based on the officer’s observations alone. So, you may “beat” a breath test but not necessarily an arrest.
The Chemical Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Breathalyzer Test
The second breathalyzer test is a chemical blood alcohol content (BAC) test. A BAC test can also be performed on a blood or urine sample but is most often a breathalyzer test. It is conducted at the police station on a more sophisticated and accurate breathalyzer and in almost all states, can only be conducted after a lawful DWI/DUI arrest. (See Chemical BAC Tests for more information.)
- You cannot beat the chemical BAC breathalyzer test.
- You are required to submit to a chemical BAC test (or face severe penalties) so you cannot beat it by not taking it.
- None of the “tips and secrets” for beating a breathalyzer test actually work.
- You can rest assured that breathalyzers have been designed to minimize the potential for false readings.
However, one of many things a good DWI/DUI lawyer can do for you is find grounds to beat a BAC breathalyzer test after the fact.
For example, the BAC breathalyzer is not beyond question – many expert DUI/DWI lawyers have successfully contested results.
In addition, there are many protocols for conducting BAC breathalyzer tests. In other words, many opportunities for lawyers to refute the admissibility of the test if there have been errors in procedure.
Closing tips on Breathalyzer Tests
The best way to “beat” breathalyzer tests is to exercise your rights and minimize potential penalties:
- At the roadside – Politely exercise your right to refuse the preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) roadside breath test.
- At the police station or booking facility – Politely submit to the chemical BAC breathalyzer test, as required by law.
- On release – Write down the details of your DUI / DWI stop and arrest while they are fresh in your mind and find a good DUI / DWI lawyer as soon as possible.
Be aware that the total total costs of DUI/DWI offenses are much higher than you might think, and certainly high enough to justify hiring a good lawyer to challenge the charges and at the very least, minimize penalties.
The best avoidance technique is of course not to drink and drive. However, most people are simply concerned that one extra drink may be one too many. In these cases, you can prevent placing yourself (and others) at risk by considering a personal breathalyzer which will allow you to make an on-the-spot decision about whether to drive or take a taxi.
An original Beating Breathalyzers article, exclusive to this site
Copyright © 2010 Caroline Mackenzie/DUI-Lawyer-LA.com