A breathalyzer is an alcohol test device that is used to determine a person’s blood alcohol content or BAC. The concept of a breathalyzer test was first invented in 1927 by scientist Emil Bogen. Bogen discovered that air that was captured inside of a leather bladder could be measured for alcohol particles.
Scientist William Duncan McNally perfected Bogen’s breathalyzer test invention and applied for the first patent of what most people now would recognize as a forerunner of the modern breathalyzer. The term Breathalyzer is actually a brand name for this test device. The “breathalyzer” is synonymous now with any handheld or ignition alcohol test device that measures a person’s BAC.
Law enforcement throughout the country began using breathalyzers to determine if people were consuming too much alcohol before driving in the 1960s. The breathalyzer test is now one of the most common methods used to test, apprehend, detain and legally punish people for being over the legal alcohol limit in public or while driving a vehicle.
While law enforcement officers typically use handheld alcohol breathalyzers, people can find and purchase different breathalyzer test models on the Internet. Judges many times order that repeat alcohol DUI offenders have their cars outfitted with ignition breathalyzer test switches. If the driver fails the alcohol breathalyzer test, the ignition will not start, preventing the person over the legal BAC from driving.
The result of an alcohol breathalyzer test are overwhelmingly accurate and based on widely accepted BAC test charts. As with any alcohol breathalyzer test that measures a person’s BAC, breathalyzers can be faulty and give inaccurate test results. It is important for people to know how to use a breathalyzer test properly to get the most accurate alcohol BAC readings.
Performing a Breathalyzer Test
Getting an accurate reading from a breathalyzer test requires that people know how to use the device properly. To get the best measure of your BAC, it is generally advised that you wait at least 20 minutes after you have consumed anything with alcohol in it. This amount of time will give your body the chance to absorb some of the alcohol and provide an accurate reading of your BAC.
Likewise, you should make sure that you use the breathalyzer in an area that is well-ventilated but not too windy. A room that is closed off or poorly ventilated could result in a higher BAC reading. A room that is too windy could result in your BAC levels being calculated as lower than what they actually are.
You should blow gently into the breathalyzer and give it several seconds to generate your BAC level. You should avoid blowing cigarette smoke, spit or other debris into the breathalyzer. Likewise, you should avoid using a breathalyzer after you have used mouthwash or taken a dose of cough syrup that has alcohol in it.
If the breathalyzer test does not give a reading within a few seconds, you should try it one more time to see if it can calculate your BAC level. While most breathalyzers are reliable and trustworthy, others can be defective or in need of new batteries. If your breathalyzer test does not appear to be working correctly, you should check its batteries or consider that it may be defective.
More about the Breathalyzer Scale
The breathalyzer scale used today by law enforcement and the court system is regarded as highly reliable. It bases the level of intoxication on a number of factors including a person’s gender, weight and age. These factors combined to determine how much alcohol a person can consume before he or she is over the legal BAC limit to drive in any given state.
In general, it provides a basic test that law enforcement can use to decide whether or not to detain and test a person for alcohol intoxication. The alcohol BAC scale indicates that heavier people typically can consume more alcohol than people who weigh less. Likewise, men can consume more alcohol than women before they are considered to be over the legal BAC limit.
Using this chart, law enforcement officials can determine whether or not to conduct a breathalyzer test in the field or at the police station. This BAC chart also helps police officers determine the reading of the breathalyzer. The chart provides the BAC content levels at each stage of inebriation from tipsy to heavily intoxicated.
A version of this BAC breathalyzer scale is used in all 50 states. Most states share the same criteria for being over the legal limit of alcohol consumption and at what point a person should submit to a breathalyzer test. Alternatively, this alcohol breathalyzer test scale is also used by defense attorneys to prove that their clients may not have been over the legal alcohol limit in the state.
Test Factors in a Alcohol Breathalyzer Chart
The alcohol breathalyzer test chart used to determine your BAC will take into consideration factors like your age, gender, weight, and the number of drinks you have consumed. This breathalyzer chart allows these differences in alcohol consumption and test results because men and women tolerate alcohol differently and have different BAC levels even if they have consumed the same number of drinks and type of alcohol.
The breathalyzer test chart also indicates to law enforcement and the court system at what point you could face legal ramifications for drinking too much alcohol. Most people avoid having a high BAC if they just consume one or two drinks with alcohol in them. However, they start to have troubles with reflexes, thought processes and other functions that influence safe driving after they have consumed three or more drinks with some type of alcohol in them.
The breathalyzer test bases its BAC results on drinks that are commonly served in bars and restaurants. The types of alcohol drinks used for the BAC breathalyzer test include 1.25-ounce shots, 12-ounce beers and five ounces of wine per serving. If you are a man who weighs around 200 pounds, for instance, you can consume up to five 1.25 ounce alcohol drinks before your BAC reaches a point where you would fail a breathalyzer test.
Having a breathalyzer test chart available to you can help you prepare for a night of consuming alcohol at parties, bars, restaurants or elsewhere. You will know how much you can drink before you would fail a breathalyzer test if you were pulled over by law enforcement.
Test Factors that Influence Breathalyzer Levels
People react to alcohol in different ways, which is why one person’s breathalyzer BAC test results could be entirely different than those of another even if the two people consumed the same number and types of alcoholic drinks. To start, alcohol affects older people differently than people who are younger. The effects of alcohol are more pronounced in older individuals than they are in younger alcohol drinkers. People over 40 or 50, for instance, may fail a breathalyzer test and have higher BAC levels than their younger counterparts.
Likewise, women who drink alcohol often become more inebriated faster than men. Men have more enzymes in their stomachs to help break down and eliminate alcohol than women. Women who are given a BAC breathalyzer test may fail more readily because they lack the stomach enzymes to process alcohol quickly.
Other factors like combining the use of alcohol with cold or allergy medications or medicines used for depression and anxiety can increase your BAC level and cause you to fail an alcohol sobriety test. If you plan to consume alcohol while you are at a bar or restaurant, you could keep your BAC under the legal alcohol limit by eating food in addition to drinking alcohol. You also should wait for one hour per alcohol drink you consumed before driving. It takes your body one hour to eliminate one drink with alcohol in it.
What Happens after Failing an Alcohol Breathalyzer Test
When you fail an alcohol field sobriety breathalyzer test, the police have the right to place you under the arrest for having a BAC over the legal limit. After you are arrested, you may be taken to the police station where you will be processed and arraigned on a misdemeanor or felony BAC charge.
If you are not a repeat offender and have never before failed a breathalyzer test, the judge may allow you to pay a small fine and perhaps take an alcohol recovery class online or at a local test facility. However, if you are a repeat offender or your alcohol violation has caused loss of life or property, you could be sentenced to a lengthy jail or prison term.
Most states allow you to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test in the field. However, your refusal may not prevent the officer from arresting you or you being charged with some type of motor vehicle violation. Once you are under arrest, you no longer have the right to refuse to undergo a BAC test.
Still, you can have your lawyer refuse the results of your breathalyzer test to make sure your BAC was really over the legal limit. Your attorney could order a new test or argue in court that the breathalyzer test was defective and not capable of giving an accurate BAC reading.
Using a Free Online Breathalyzer Calculator
You ideally never want to have to undergo a breathalyzer test or have your BAC tested by law enforcement. Still, you may not want to forgo consuming alcohol with your friends at bars and restaurants. Before you go out for a night of fun that may involve alcohol, you might want to find a free online breathalyzer calculator so you know how much alcohol you can drink before your BAC is over the legal limit.
Before you search online for a breathalyzer calculator, you should remember that your BAC will depend on factors like your gender, age, weight and how much you drink. You do not want a basic breathalyzer calculator that simply tells you what the legal alcohol limit is in each state before a police officer can perform a BAC test on you.
You want to use a breathalyzer calculator that will show you the BAC limit for each weight category, gender, age and number of drinks consumed. You can keep this alcohol test calculator on your phone or print it off and keep it in your pocket before going out that night.
Many people make the mistake of saying they know how much alcohol they can drink before they would fail a BAC breathalyzer test. Their assumptions often fail to consider details like how much food they have eaten, the strength of the alcohol drinks or other factors that influence BAC. Rather than risk failing a breathalyzer test, you can keep this breathalyzer calculator on hand to know how much alcohol you can drink on any given night.
The Purpose of a Breathalyzer Test Scale
Law enforcement relies on the breathalyzer test scale because it helps them determine what a person’s BAC level is without having the person provide a blood or urine sample. Some people are actually really good at holding their liquor and show few if any signs of alcohol inebriation. They may not have bloodshot eyes, foul breath, disheveled appearances, and other outward signs of having a high BAC.
However, they typically will always fail a breathalyzer test if they are pulled over by the police. This breathalyzer test scale lets police officers know how drunk a person is even if that individual is adept at hiding signs of alcohol inebriation.
The breathalyzer test scale also serves to protect the public from drivers who have had too much alcohol. The police have a sworn duty to protect people from motorists with high BAC levels. The breathalyzer test chart likewise protects people who cannot consume alcohol responsibly from themselves. The breathalyzer test is designed to stop those drivers from hurting or killing themselves in accidents involving alcohol.
Using a BAC Breathalyzer Correctly
As reliable as the typical BAC breathalyzer test is, it can give a bad blood alcohol reading if it is not used properly. Before using a breathalyzer test to find out your BAC, you should check the batteries in the breathalyzer itself. Most breathalyzer test devices need to have their batteries changed every few months to remain functional.
You also may want to ensure that the breathalyzer test device is relatively new and not an old breathalyzer that could have manufacturing defects. These defects make it unlikely that the test will be able to detect alcohol or give a good BAC reading. You want to use a new breathalyzer test or one that has been made in the last few years.
Next, you want to be sure that you or whoever is administering the blood alcohol test knows how to use the breathalyzer properly. You should avoid using it in a room that is closed off with no air ventilation. The breathalyzer test could give a BAC reading that is too high. Likewise, if there is too much air in the room, the BAC test reading could be too low.
An Overview of an Alcohol Breathalyzer
A breathalyzer is a type of test that police officers and courts use to test a person’s level of alcohol inebriation or BAC. Most breathalyzer test devices are handheld and small enough to fit into your pocket. However, other types of breathalyzer devices can be installed on a person’s car ignition switch. If the person has consumed too much alcohol and has a BAC over the legal limit, the breathalyzer test will prevent the person from starting the car and driving away.
All 50 states allow breathalyzer test results as evidence in court that a defendant had too high of a BAC at the time when the test was administered. The BAC level displayed by the breathalyzer test will take into consideration a person’s weight, gender, and the number of drinks with alcohol in them the person has consumed. Based on this information, the test device gives a reading that may or may not indicate the person has failed the breathalyzer test.
Most law enforcement agencies train police officers on how to administer the standard alcohol breathalyzer test and get good BAC readings. Moreover, some websites sell breathalyzer devices to the public. Before you buy a breathalyzer for yourself, you may want to find out if your state allows private citizens to use their own breathalyzer at home or in their cars.
Preparing to Take a Breathalyzer Test
When you head out for a night that you know will involve consuming alcohol, you may want to prepare yourself for the possibility of being pulled over and given a breathalyzer test. Before you prepare yourself for the breathalyzer test, it is important for you to know what a BAC is and how you can keep yours under the legal limit.
Your BAC is your blood alcohol content or the amount of alcohol you have in your system when you take the breathalyzer test. Your BAC will be influenced by how much alcohol you consume along with your age, gender, weight, and other substances like medicines or food you have in your stomach and bloodstream.
When you blow into the breathalyzer test, it will search for alcohol particles in your breath. The alcohol breathalyzer test can give an accurate BAC reading in a matter of minutes and in some cases as fast as 15 seconds. Depending on the state you live in, you could be arrested for having a high BAC if your breathalyzer test indicates a BAC of 0.08 or more.
You may pass a breathalyzer test and keep your BAC level below the legal limit by consuming food with your alcohol. It generally takes one hour for your body to process and eliminates one drink with alcohol in it.
Understanding the Breathalyzer Scale
If you are asked to undergo a field sobriety BAC test, the results of your BAC test will be based on the breathalyzer scale used by your state. Most states use the same alcohol breathalyzer scale. However, the alcohol test scale used for measuring BAC may be different in slight but critical ways where you live.
Nonetheless, the basis of most alcohol BAC test scales involves the use of some type of breathalyzer. The scale indicates what kind of BAC test results you can get before you are considered to be over the legal BAC limit in your state. The test scale also considers factors like your age, gender, and weight when determining your BAC. It also will take into consideration the number of drinks with alcohol in them that you have consumed in the last few hours.
Most states use a breathalyzer scale that allows any BAC under 0.08 to be within legal BAC range. BAC levels over 0.08 are considered to be over the legal limit and could result in drivers either being fined or arrested. People who repeat DUI offenders may face harsher penalties for drinking after consuming too much alcohol. The breathalyzer scale test helps law enforcement remove these unsafe drivers from the roadways and protects the public.
What Influences the Alcohol Breathalyzer Chart?
No two people react the same to alcohol. You may need to consume several drinks with alcohol in them before your BAC level reaches the legal limit. However, your friend may be only to consume one or two drinks before his or her BAC is considered to be legally intoxicated.
The alcohol breathalyzer chart takes these factors into consideration when determining a person’s BAC level. It bases its breathalyzer results on how old you are, what gender you are, and how many drinks with alcohol you have had in the past few hours. It also factors in how much you weigh, which is something that many people are not aware can influence your tolerance to alcohol.
The alcohol breathalyzer scale indicates that heavier people can typically drink more alcohol before their BAC levels reach a legally critical point. However, lighter people generally can only drink one or two drinks before their BAC starts to reach the 0.08 legal limit.
That is not to say that you can drink more alcohol if you are heavier. Other factors like your emotional state, the medications you use, whether or not you ate food, and your age can also influence how high your BAC gets after drinking alcohol.
Keeping Your Breathalyzer Levels Low
You might wonder what you can do to keep your BAC below the legal limit allowed in your state. You cannot help some factors used by breathalyzer charts when determining your BAC. These criteria include your gender and age. However, you do have control over other factors that could cause your BAC to soar after consuming alcohol.
To start, you should consume as little alcohol as possible if you want to pass a breathalyzer test. Most people can drink one or two drinks with alcohol in them before having BAC levels that are too high.
You also should eat a meal along with having a few drinks or finish the evening with a couple of cups of decaf coffee. Food as well as coffee help your body process and eliminate the alcohol in your system.
Finally, you should wait at least one hour if not longer after consuming alcohol before you get behind the wheel of a car. The breathalyzer test scale used in most states indicates that it takes at least one hour for the body to eliminate one 1.25 shot glass of alcohol, a 12-ounce beer, or 0.5 ounces of wine.
An Overview of the Breathalyzer Scale
When you submit to a BAC field sobriety test, you may wonder how the breathalyzer that you blow into actually works. How does the number that it provides to the officer conducting the test correlate with your BAC?
The number alone cannot tell what your BAC is or whether or not your BAC is necessarily over the legal limit. To make that determination, the officer needs to refer to the breathalyzer scale used by the state, which then will indicate if your BAC is low enough to be sent on your way or high enough to warrant your prompt arrest.
Most states allow people to continue driving even after consuming alcohol if their BAC levels are below 0.08. Even with that small amount of alcohol detected in their breath, they are still safe enough to drive themselves home or wherever else they need to go. However, when the breathalyzer test indicates a BAC higher than that number, it could signal to the police to place you under arrest. Your BAC is too high for you to safely operate a motor vehicle. You present a real danger to the public until you are sober.
Using a Breathalyzer Scale Chart On Your Own
You have every right as a private citizen to find out what your state’s legal BAC limit is and what kind of breathalyzer scale chart police officers use when field sobriety testing drivers. You can find one of these BAC charts online. You may even find the very one that your state requires law enforcement officers to use when testing for high BAC levels.
The typical breathalyzer scale chart will test people for alcohol consumption and BAC-based on criteria like how much alcohol they have consumed and how much they weigh. In fact, the breathalyzer scale chart is different for men than it is for women simply because men and women process alcohol differently. Men have more stomach enzymes that help process and eliminate alcohol, which helps them keep their BAC levels in check before driving.
Nonetheless, the breathalyzer test result gives a number that officers can then use to refer to the breathalyzer scale chart. Based on how old you are, how much you weigh, what gender you are, and how much alcohol you have consumed, the chart indicates if your BAC is over the legal limit to drive.
Lowering Your BAC Breathalyzer Levels before Driving
Once you realize how a breathalyzer works in determining your BAC, you may want to lower your BAC on your own before you drive yourself home after a night of drinking alcohol. It is reasonable for you to want to go out and have a few drinks of your favorite alcohol from time to time with friends. However, at the same time, you do not want to get caught driving with a BAC over the legal limit. Rather than risk failing a breathalyzer test, you may want to know how to keep your BAC breathalyzer levels below the legal limit before driving.
The old myth about drinking coffee actually does help keep your BAC low enough to pass a breathalyzer test. After one or two alcoholic drinks, you should drink a cup of coffee to help your body process the alcohol and eliminate it from your body. Because coffee consists primarily of water, it acts as a diuretic and helps your body pass the alcohol out of your system while lowering your BAC.
Likewise, you may want to eat a full meal while drinking alcohol. A meal consisting of carbohydrates and protein help your stomach break down not only the food but also the alcohol. Your body will then absorb it faster, preventing your BAC from reaching a legally critical level.
However, when you want to pass a breathalyzer test without eating food or drinking coffee, you simply have to wait it out while your body absorbs and gets rid of the alcohol on its own. Most BAC charts show that it takes one hour for the human body to process drink with alcohol in it. The alcohol amount used in the chart is a single 1.25 shot of alcohol, a 12-ounce glass or bottle of beer, or a 0.5-ounce glass of wine.
The Legal Ramifications of Your Breathalyzer Results
All 50 states allow the test results of a field sobriety breathalyzer to be submitted as evidence of a person’s public intoxication or DUI. When your BAC breathalyzer results show that your own BAC was over the legal limit at the time of the test, the results can have long-lasting legal ramifications on your life. The severity of punishment you face because of failing a breathalyzer test can depend on the BAC test result as well as if you are a repeat DUI offender.
Many judges have little patience for people who attempt to drive with BAC levels that are exceedingly high. Even going slightly over the 0.08 BAC limit used by most states can result in you receiving an expensive DUI fine. You also may lose your driving privileges for up to 30 days after failing a breathalyzer test.
When your use of alcohol causes your BAC to be so high that you cause loss of life or property, you could be sentenced to jail or prison. You may not be sentenced to probation or BAC rehabilitation classes. Instead, you would serve out a prison or jail sentence to pay back society for not only failing a breathalyzer test but also causing harm to someone or something.
The breathalyzer test results are generally the same for every state. Most states use the same breathalyzer test charts and scales to determine the safest level of BAC for driving a car without posing a risk to the public.
Can You Contest an Alcohol Breathalyzer Test
While every state allows the test results of a breathalyzer to be submitted as court evidence, most states also allow defendants to contest their test results especially if they believe the breathalyzer or the officer conducting the test was in the wrong.
to contest your bac test results, you need to hire an attorney who is experienced in DUI law. this attorney will know how a breathalyzer should be administered and if your own test could possibly have been compromised and given a false bac result.
if you are successful in contesting the results of your alcohol field sobriety test, you could have the alcohol offense charges against you dropped or reduced. you also may have civil recourse to take against the city, county, or state that gave you the breathalyzer test.
What is a Breathalyzer?
A breathalyzer is a type of test that detects the level of alcohol in your breath. When you blow into the test device, it searches for particles of alcohol. Based on the concentration of the alcohol particles, it provides the person administering the test with your BAC, or blood alcohol concentration.
The standard breathalyzer test is highly reliable when it comes to detecting the presence of alcohol in the average test sample as well as a person’s BAC. However, some factors can throw off the BAC reading, either providing a number that is too high or too low than what your actual BAC is.
When officers have you blow into the device to find out your BAC, they may inadvertently have you facing into the wind. The wind alone can manipulate your breath sample and cause your BAC reading to be lower than what it actually is.
At the same time, your BAC reading could be much higher than what it actually is if you blow into the device while standing or sitting in a closed off room. The lack of ventilation could cause the concentration of the particles to be greater than need be, making it appear that you are highly inebriated.
If you disagree with your BAC reading, you can have a DUI attorney contest it for you. You could have your BAC level tested through other means like giving a blood or urine sample to the police.
What Causes Your BAC to Go Over the Legal Breathalyzer Limit?
Failing a breathalyzer test can come as a complete surprise to you. You may think that you only consumed a small amount of alcohol, only to find that your BAC was so high that you completely failed a breathalyzer test. What made your BAC go over the legal breathalyzer limit anyway? You can prepare for a breathalyzer test in the future by knowing how your BAC level is calculated.
Most states use a standard breathalyzer chart that indicates at what levels a person’s BAC could be too high and at what level it would be legally safe to drive a car. The legally allowed BAC number used by most states is 0.08 although in some states this number could be lower.
Regardless, the chart considers how much you weigh, what gender you are, and how much alcohol you drink in the time before you are given the test. The chart categorizes each BAC on two primary factors of weight and the total number of drinks you have had. Based on these two primary criteria as well as your gender, it provides you with a BAC range that goes up as you consume more alcohol.
More about Breathalyzer Accuracy
You might wonder if a breathalyzer is an accurate way to test for BAC or if it can give skewed results after you have consumed alcohol. The test devices used today are viewed as highly accurate and more than capable of giving reliable BAC test results. In some instances, the result of your BAC test can be just as accurate as if you were to give a urine or blood sample.
Even so, any good alcohol defense attorney can argue that this test can be skewed and give inaccurate BAC readings especially if the officer who gave the test did not know what he or she is doing. Some states do not provide extensive training for administering these BAC alcohol field sobriety tests. The test results could be compromised because the officer did not really know how to give the test in the first place.
Nonetheless, the typical test result for your BAC could be allowed in court as evidence that you drank too much alcohol before driving. You could be sentenced to alcohol rehabilitation counseling or be made to pay a fine for your alcohol offense. If you are someone who is in court often because of being over the legal BAC limit, you could even be sentenced to a stint in jail.
The entire basis of any legal punishment you face will depend on how accurate you and your attorney believe the test results to be and if you think it gave a good blood alcohol content reading. If you feel that the test was not accurate, you have the right to contest it in court and provide evidence that the blood alcohol content charges against you should be dismissed.
Complying with a Police Breathalyzer Test
You do not have to agree to take a field sobriety test if you believe you have been wrongfully detained. Nonetheless, when you want to avoid being arrested and possibly being forced to give a urine or blood sample to test your BAC, you may choose to comply with the police breathalyzer test. Most police officers make the tests fast and simple with which to comply. You should follow the officer’s instructions if you have been pulled over on suspicion of driving after drinking alcohol.
The device will test for alcohol particles in your breath and then give a BAC reading to the police. Before you blow into the device, you should spit out your gum or put out your cigarette. Candy particles and tobacco smoke can skew your BAC reading and cause the device to say you drank more alcohol than you actually consumed.
Likewise, you should blow until the device emits a signal saying it has enough air to test. Most devices give BAC results in a matter of seconds. It can tell the officer if your blood alcohol reading is under the legal limit or if you are too drunk to drive.
Understanding Breathalyzer Calibration
The accuracy of the BAC reading given by a breathalyzer depends greatly on how well the device is calibrated. Calibration of a breathalyzer is simply a process of making sure the device interprets the BAC of a manufacturing sample.
For example, a breathalyzer that is calibrated to read a 0.08 BAC will have 0.08 alcohol concentrated air blown into it while it is being tested. If it gives a reading of 0.08 in response, it is calibrated correctly.
Most breathalyzers come pre-calibrated straight from the factory so you do not have to worry about calibrating it yourself after you buy it. It should continue to give accurate readings for up to 12 months as long as you do not misuse it.
After 12 months, you are encouraged to send it back to the manufacturer to have it recalibrated for accuracy. You should send it back sooner if it starts to malfunction such as failing to give accurate readings or failing to read breath samples at all.
Many manufacturers will perform calibration services for their products for a minimal fee. They also may perform the calibration service at no cost if the device is under warranty or if it suffers from a manufacturing defect.