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If you hyperventilate, can you beat a DUI breath test?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2022 | Criminal Law

If you enjoy drinking alcohol with your friends, you probably also like spending an evening in a tavern, club or bar. While there is nothing inherently wrong with participating in a booze-fueled night on the town, it is unlawful to drive under the influence of alcohol. In fact, Virginia has some of the country’s toughest DUI laws.

As you probably know, officers cannot stop your vehicle on a whim. Indeed, before pulling you over, they must have reasonable suspicion you have done something unlawful. Then, to arrest you, they must have probable cause to believe you have engaged in illegal behavior. Failing a DUI breath test gives them that probable cause.

Can you fool a DUI breath test?

Some Virginians believe it is possible to fool a DUI breath test, but doing so is virtually impossible.

A popular theory suggests that hyperventilating before breathing into the testing device can lower its blood alcohol concentration reading. Hyperventilating, though, has no effect on the breath test’s results.

Can hyperventilating harm you?

Because hyperventilating does not shield you from legal liability for drunk driving, it is advisable not to hyperventilate before breathing into the testing device.

Moreover, hyperventilating can be bad for your health. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, hyperventilating can cause carbon dioxide to build up in your bloodstream, potentially resulting in your loss of consciousness.

Passing out beside the road during a DUI stop is not something anyone wants to do. Ultimately, rather than trying to avoid arrest by hyperventilating, you should know your rights during a DUI stop and exercise them.