Man Tries to Beat a DWI By Eating Breath Test Results
Experienced drinkers know that one way to lessen the effects of alcohol is to eat something. It won’t keep you from getting drunk, but it will slow the absorption of alcohol into the system, making the journey back from impairment a bit faster.
- Do not eat paper
- Especially if that paper is the results of a DWI test the police have just given you
Most people do not need the above advice, but one man clearly did. State troopers in Tarrytown, New York arrested a suspected drunk driver and brought him to the Tarrytown state police barracks for a breathalyzer test. When the results emerged from the printer, the suspect grabbed the paper and tried to swallow it.
Needless to say, the suspect did not make his case disappear.
Why Breathalyzers Work
Our suspect had good reason to try to hide the results: they are a reliable indicator of drunkenness, which is caused by alcohol in the bloodstream. The greater the concentration of alcohol, the greater impairment a person will feel. However, it’s not practical (nor, in most states, legal) to take the blood of a suspected drunk driver. Instead, police use a breathalyzer, which relies on the fact that when alcohol is in the blood, it also appears on the breath in a pretty constant 2100-to-1 ratio. This means that for every 2100 milliliters of alcohol in the blood, one milliliter will appear on the breath.
The breathalyzer can measure breath alcohol, and the resulting BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) with surprising accuracy. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, attaches a circuit to the breathalyzer which disables a vehicle’s starter when a certain amount of alcohol is detected on a driver’s breath. About half the states in the country now require ignition interlocks to be placed on the vehicles of DUI offenders.
New York is one of those states. It’s quite likely that our eater of DWI results will be using an ignition interlock before too long.