A breathalyzer examination for DUI might return an inaccurate result for any number of reasons, but you can’t skew a breathalyzer reading with any of the “tricks” that some people have tried. Gum doesn’t work. Mints don’t work. One man in Australia tried guzzling perfume; it doesn’t work. One particular misconception that you might hear is the “suck on a penny” myth. Supposedly, if you start sucking on a penny when you’re stopped by the police, the breathalyzer device will measure a ridiculously high blood alcohol content (BAC) level, and you can argue that the breathalyzer was defective. It doesn’t work, so don’t even try it. You could potentially be charged with interfering with an officer’s performance of duties or with destroying evidence. Instead, if you’re charged with DUI in the greater Las Vegas area, get legal help at once and contact an experienced Las Vegas DUI defense attorney.
In reality, there is no benefit whatsoever to sucking on a penny. The Discovery Channel tried it in 2003 on their Mythbusters broadcast. The air that you blow into a breathalyzer originates at the base of the lungs, and the chemical structure of those air molecules can’t be altered by anything in your mouth.
In some states, you have the right to decline DUI testing before an arrest, but not in Nevada. Nevada’s implied consent law means that simply by driving, you are legally consenting to take a preliminary breath test, even if you have not been formally arrested. If you refuse, the police will confiscate your license and arrest you. Even without a DUI test, Nevada can convict you of DUI based on the arresting officer’s testimony and the presumption that your refusal to be tested indicates that you, yourself, believed at the time that you were guilty. Even if you weren’t actually driving, you can still be prosecuted for DUI in this state. If you fall asleep in your vehicle with keys in the ignition or the engine running, you can be arrested for DUI on that basis alone. In that circumstance, don’t hesitate to call an experienced Las Vegas DUI lawyer immediately.
Lawmakers have, however, placed several restrictions on law enforcement regarding DUI testing. If you take anticoagulants for a heart condition, or if you have hemophilia, you are not required to submit to the blood test, and a breath or urine test may be administered instead. The state of Nevada immediately and automatically revokes your license for 90 days if your test results indicate a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher.
In Nevada, if the police pull you over because they suspect that you are driving under the influence, you may be asked to take a field sobriety test (FST). While most DUI defense attorneys and many other observers believe that FSTs are demonstrably unreliable, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nevertheless recommends that police officers administer a standard battery of three roadside tests in a standardized manner to assist them in making the decision to arrest or not arrest a suspect.
The three tests recommended by the NHTSA are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the Walk-and-Turn (WAT) test, and the One-Leg Stand (OLS). The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test is typically administered first. With this test, a police officer is looking for an involuntary jerking motion in a suspect’s eyes. The second test administered is usually the WAT test, which requires a suspect, among other things, to walk heel-to-toe in a straight line. Finally, the OLS requires a suspect to stand on one leg for 30 seconds; it also “tests” balance, coordination, and attention to instructions.
Most DUI defense attorneys vigorously dispute the claim that field sobriety tests are in any way “scientific.” In most situations where you are suspected of driving under the influence, FSTs merely provide an opportunity for the police to pile up more incriminating evidence against you. You don’t need to help them do that; in Nevada, you can decline to submit to FSTs. Be polite but firm; by the time a police officer asks you to take a field sobriety test, he or she has probably decided to arrest you anyway.
Don’t try to act as your own attorney, and don’t accept any plea deal before speaking with a good defense lawyer. If you’re arrested for DUI in the Las Vegas area, arrange to speak immediately with an experienced Las Vegas DUI defense attorney.
DUI, Indigestion and Heartburn
You could be wrongfully accused of DUI in Nevada if you suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Your breathalyzer test results will be wrong. Breathalyzers measure “alveolar” air from your lungs, and the machines assume that the air you blow is directly from the lungs. GERD sufferers have alcohol gas perpetually streaming from the stomach to the mouth area, so that when you blow into a breathalyzer device, the stomach gas mixes with any gas from the lungs, and the breathalyzer registers a high blood alcohol content level. In Las Vegas, if you’re charged with DUI based a breathalyzer result, speak with an experienced Las Vegas DUI defense attorney immediately.
You may not even know if you have GERD. If your medicine for heartburn and indigestion (most commonly Prilosec, Tums, or Nexium) relieves your discomfort, you probably have not sought further treatment. That’s how you can have a “guilty” breathalyzer measurement and not be guilty of DUI. The device’s calibration, your own breathing patterns, and other compounds in the blood can all impair a breathalyzer’s ability to offer a precise measurement of your blood alcohol content level.
If you’re charged with DUI in Las Vegas and you use a heartburn or indigestion medicine, speak at once to a DUI defense lawyer who can look at your medical history and arrange for additional medical testing if necessary. Medical test results can then be introduced in your defense against the DUI charge. A good DUI lawyer will also know about the other reasons a breathalyzer can be inaccurate. While no particular result can ever be guaranteed in any single DUI case, if you’re not guilty of the charge because you suffer from GERD, an experienced Las Vegas DUI defense attorney can explain GERD to the prosecutor and the court and fight aggressively for the justice you need and deserve.