The Breath Alcohol Section can be reached at (804) 786-6971 or by FAX at (804) 786-6139.
Will coffee, cold showers and exercise help “sober up” someone who has been drinking?
Only the passage of time will “sober up” an individual.
How long does it take to eliminate alcohol?
Average elimination rates range from 0.010 to 0.020 g/210L per hour. For example, an individual with a 0.10 Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) would reach a 0.00 BAC in 5 to 10 hours.
If someone has a dose of cough medicine, will it contribute to the reading?
Following the normal dosing instructions, cough medicine will not produce a blood alcohol reading.
If a person has asthma, can they provide a breath sample?
Yes, people with asthma can typically provide breath samples.
Can a penny under the tongue influence the reading?
This belief is incorrect. A penny under the tongue does not contribute to or alter the breath reading.
Can dentures affect a breath test? What about tongue rings?
Dentures and tongue rings do not affect the breath test result as long as a 20 minute observation is performed.
What is the purpose of the 20 minute observation?
To allow any residual mouth alcohol to be absorbed.
Are breath tests accurate?
Yes, breath tests are very accurate. The instrumentation is held to a standard of 3% or 0.003 g/210 L of vapor (whichever is greater) for accuracy, and 0.003 g/210 L of vapor for precision.