How long is alcohol detectable on a breathalyzer?

Not legal advice: How long alcohol is detectable on a breathalyzer after it has been consumed depends on the amount ingested. A breathalyzer measures a person’s BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration). The legal BAC limit for driving is .08. BAC drops by .015 every hour due to being metabolized by the body.

At this rate, it would take nearly five and a half hours to go from legally drunk at .08 BAC to blowing a .00 on a breathalyzer. It would take over six and a half hours to completely metabolize a BAC of .10.

Inebriation often overtakes someone that doesn’t realize how much alcohol they have really consumed. It is important to keep in mind that alcohol content will increase even after the last drink is consumed. This is because it takes time for the alcohol to be absorbed by the body. Eating while drinking will cause the alcohol to absorb into the body slower. It won’t lessen the alcohol’s total effect, but it will slow its absorption into the body to help prevent the drinker from being overwhelmed by intoxication.

The term “breathalyzer” has come to refer to any device that measures BAC from a breath sample. The original Breathalyzer was invented in 1954. The device is also marketed under the names Intoxilyzer and Intoximeter.

Updated on Saturday, April 21 2012 at 06:30PM EDT
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