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What is a chemical breath test?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2023 | DWI

The police may ask drivers to prove that they are not drunk during traffic stops. An investigation may begin with a few questions to determine if a driver will be open and admit to their guilt. If that doesn’t lead to any conclusive evidence, the police may ask drivers to do a chemical sobriety test.

The most common type of chemical sobriety test is a breath test. A breath test is a small device that drivers can blow in. The test will then evaluate a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). To understand why it’s important that a breath test evaluates a driver’s BAC, you can read further:

What is blood alcohol content?

Alcohol goes into the stomach and small intestine where it is then absorbed into the blood. The absorbed alcohol goes through the body to the brain and lungs. When a driver exhales into a breath test, the machine evaluates the alcohol content in the blood. The more alcohol consumed, the higher a BAC reading will be.

Can you trick a breath test?

People have tried to trick breath tests. People may use breath mints, gum or breath freshener to mask the smell of alcohol. However, many of these products contain trace amounts of alcohol that may raise a breath test reading.  

Likewise, people have tried to suck pennies to make a breath test reading impossibly high. This is a common myth that does not do anything for drivers. 

Are there other kinds of chemical tests? 

Many people take breath tests because they are conveniently available during traffic stops. A breath test isn’t the only evaluation to prove whether a driver is or is not drunk. Drivers can take urine and blood tests. Urine and blood tests are considered more accurate than breath tests. Yet, these tests may still have inaccurate results. 

If a chemical sobriety test creates a false positive, then a driver could be wrongly accused of drunk driving. Drivers who believe their legal rights were violated during traffic stops may need to learn their defense options.