alcohol breath test from 1937

If you think popping a breath mint after a few drinks will mask alcohol odor and fool the officer who just stopped you for suspicion of DWI, think again. 

The police officer’s nose can’t detect blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in your breath, but adding an odor (even one as pungent as an onion) doesn’t change the alcohol concentration in your body. 

One of the biggest BAC testing myths is that a breathalizer–even one that’s properly calibrated–will still falsely read that you have alcohol in your breath.

One of the BAC testing myths: Breath mints cover up alcohol

Some products like mouthwash can actually yield an abnormally high reading on a breathalizer because they contain a high percentage of alcohol. 

Instead of popping a breath mint or rinsing with mouthwash before you head back on the road after drinking, consider staying where you are until your body has processed the alcohol and your BAC is back to legal limits. 

It’s the safer choice for you and for everyone else on the road to avoid the inaccurate breath testing and just stay where you are.

Be aware however, that even with proper precautions on your part, a breathalyzer can still give an erroneous reading.

Inaccurate Breath Testing Leads to Misleading Alcohol Measurement

The breathalizer can yield a false reading when it measures the amount of alcohol present in your mouth rather than the alcohol in the bloodstream. 

Mouth alcohol can come from belching or burping; if a person has acid reflux, this can also contribute to a high level of mouth alcohol and give an inaccurate reading on the breathalizer.

Interfering Compounds

Inaccurate breath testing comes from a breathalizer that detects other compounds that have a similar composition to alcohol. 

Exposure to ordinary items such as paint remover, gasoline, cleaning fluids, etc. 

These compounds can result in an abnormally high and incorrect BAC reading. 

However, this usually occurs only with older breathalizer units. 

Newer machines are more finely calibrated and are equipped to detect any compound interference and compensate for it.

As one of the recognized DWI lawyers in Houston, Trichter & LeGrand can help you understand BAC testing myths with any DUI or DWI case. 

Call us at the earliest possible time after being stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. 

Let us handle your case from the very beginning. 

Having a reputable Houston criminal defense attorney on your side greatly increases your chances of a favorable outcome and keeping your license. 

Call us 24/7 to speak to an attorney.


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