Skip to Content Top

Breathalyzer Test: Will Smoking Affect The Results?


When you get pulled over by the police on suspicion of drunk driving, they’re going to ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. In addition, they may ask you to perform a field sobriety test. The results of these two tests will determine whether they arrest you and charge you with DUI. The problem is that not all breathalyzer tests provide accurate results. This is especially true for the portable breathalyzer tests. While you can always ask to take another test back at the police station, this second test may not be reliable because so much time has passed. This means the prosecutor will rely more heavily on the first test. If you happen to be a smoker, there is a chance that the results of your breathalyzer test could be skewed. If this is the case, call a criminal defense attorney immediately. They can question the results of your test and request that the charges against you be reduced or dismissed entirely.

Why Do the Police Make You Test a Breathalyzer Test?

The police in Boise have been trained to recognize certain signs I’ve intoxication. Of course, they’ll see if there’s an odor of alcohol emanating from your vehicle. They will also look to see if you have red or bloodshot eyes. Finally, they’ll pay attention to what you say to see if you’re slurring your words. If they notice any of the above, they will ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test.

The breathalyzer test measures your blood alcohol concentration. The legal limit in Idaho, as in most other states, is a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08. If the results of your breathalyzer test are 0.08 or higher, you will be arrested for DUI. If the results of the breathalyzer are even higher, above 0.15, the charges against you may be enhanced.

Since so much depends on the outcome of this breathalyzer test, it’s important to know whether the results are accurate. If you have been a smoker for quite some time, there is a chance that this could have influenced the results of your test. This is something the best DUI lawyers look for. They’ll do the same with your case. If they believe this is an issue, they will reach out to the prosecutor directly.

Can You Refuse the Test?

One of the questions a lot of our clients have is whether they can refuse the breathalyzer test. You can ask any criminal defense attorney and they’ll give you the same response. You have every right to refuse to take a breathalyzer test. However, you need to be aware of the consequences of doing so.

If you refuse the breathalyzer test, there are severe penalties. The penalties in Idaho for refusing the breathalyzer are as follow:

  • You’ll have to pay a fine of $250
  • Your driver’s license will be suspended for at least 1-year

The problem with refusing the test is that these penalties stick even if the charges against you are dropped. These are administrative penalties, not criminal. You’ll have to accept these consequences as punishment for refusing the test. This is because Idaho is an informed consent state. This means that, when you accept a driver’s license, or choose to drive on Idaho’s roads, you’re consenting to take this sort of test.

Knowing that the penalties for the refusal are just as bad as they are if you are convicted of DUI, it’s a hard decision to make. If you are confident that the charges will be dropped, the one benefit will be that you won’t have a conviction on your record. However, your driver’s abstract will show the administrative suspension and the reason it was issued.

If You’re a Smoker, Your Criminal Defense Attorney Can Argue the Results are Inconclusive

It may seem strange, but studies have found that people who smoke generally blow a much higher BAC on a breathalyzer test. This is because the breathalyzer test is designed to detect the presence of any substance belonging to the methyl group. When you smoke, trace compounds of this substance stay in your body. When you blow into the portable breathalyzer machine, it will detect this substance. This can skew the results of the test.

If your criminal defense attorney can prove that you are a long-time smoker, it may be enough to dispute the DUI charges. However, this is more likely to work if your BAC was only slightly over the legal limit. If it was closer to .10 or higher, the prosecutor isn’t going to care what the best DUI lawyer has to say on the matter.

Contact One of the Best DUI Lawyers in Boise, Idaho

If you have recently been arrested and charged with DUI, you’ll need help. Even if it’s just your first offense, there are serious consequences attached to a DUI conviction. You’ll be ordered to pay hundreds of dollars in fines. You will also face potential jail time of up to 6 months. Finally, your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of 90 to 180 days. Most people can’t survive that long without their license. You may not be able to drive back and forth to work or school. If you have children, it will be nearly impossible to get them to their appointments. Rather than risk a conviction, you should call and talk to one of the best DUI lawyers. They will review your case and try to poke holes in the prosecutor’s case. They’ll also negotiate with the prosecutor to see if they can get the charged against you reduced or dismissed entirely.

We recommend that you contact our office and speak to a criminal defense attorney right away. The more time we have to prepare for your first appearance, the better off you’ll be.