3. Are you on a low-carb diet? Or had nothing to eat in quite awhile? Avoid the Breathalyzer in a DUI investigation — for the same reasons stated in number 2. Perfectly normal, healthy individuals can experience temporary conditions of low blood sugar after consuming small amounts of alcohol, resulting in exaggerated but false symptoms of intoxication. Fasting glycemia can exist where a person has not eaten in 24 hours or has been on a low-carbohydrate diet. Production of glucose in the liver is stopped while the alcohol is broken down. Result: the blood sugar level will drop, affecting the central nervous system — and producing symptoms of a person under the influence of alcohol and a higher breath test result.
4. If you have acid reflux or have burped or belched before taking the Breathalyzer, offer to provide a blood sample instead. The reason is that you will be breathing alcohol from your stomach into your throat and oral cavity, where it will stay for 20 minutes or so — to be breathed directly into the breath machine. This is not a good thing. The machine’s computer is multiplying the amount of alcohol in the breath sample by 2100 times to provide a reading of the alcohol in the blood. This is because it assumes the sample came from the lungs, not the stomach, and the average person has 2100 units of alcohol in his blood for every unit of alcohol in his breath (called the partition ratio). The Breathalyzer does not “know” that your breath sample is not from your lungs and that it should not multiply the alcohol level by anything. Result: false high readings — and a DUI conviction.
5. When you see that officer in the rear-view mirror, don’t reach for the mouthwash or breath spray to disguise the 608 Bearings Manufacturers drink or two you’ve had. Most of them contain significant levels of alcohol (Listerine, for example is 27% alcohol) and create a mouth alcohol effect: they remain in the oral cavity for 20 minutes or so — just long enough to be breathed into the Breathalyzer, with the same results mentioned in number 4. Some breath machines have a mouth alcohol detector, but these are highly unreliable.