How Long Does Alcohol Stay on Your Breath?

In Pennsylvania, as in all states, anyone who is suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be requested to take a breathalyzer test to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC). 

Refusing to take a breathalyzer test in Pennsylvania will result in civil penalties due to the state’s implied consent laws. If you don’t take the test, you can have your driver’s license suspended for 12–18 months and be subjected to fines. That’s in addition to any charges you may face for a DUI.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay on My Breath?

Alcohol can be detected on the breath for 12 to 24 hours after the last drink. 

Suppose that you have a few drinks and take an Uber home. You get up early the next morning and drive to work. Your liver may have metabolized the alcohol, and therefore your BAC is under the legal limit (or zero), but the odor of alcohol is still on your breath. Then, you get pulled over by the police.

The smell of alcohol on your breath is enough cause for the officer to ask you to take a breathalyzer test. You may even be arrested for drunk driving. Understanding your rights and knowing how long alcohol stays on your breath can help you avoid these kinds of spurious charges.

How Can I Get Rid of Alcohol on My Breath?

There isn’t a magic formula for getting rid of alcohol breath. You may feel better after brushing your teeth or drinking coffee, but your body can only process the alcohol so fast, at a rate of about 0.015 grams per hour. Time is the only solution for removing alcohol from your system.

If you want to avoid suspicion of drunk driving, there are a few steps to take.

Before driving, you should wait until your BAC is zero or below the legal limit. It takes about an hour to metabolize one drink, so if you’ve had five drinks, you need at least five hours for the alcohol to leave your system. However, many factors will affect how quickly alcohol remains in your system, including gender, age, weight, alcohol type, and the presence of food or medication in your system.

You should also wait to shower until after all of the alcohol has left your body. Otherwise, some could secrete through your sweat.

Brush your teeth and tongue thoroughly and floss, but don’t use an alcohol-based mouthwash. You can also chew gum, which can help produce saliva and mask any lingering alcohol odors.

However, even if alcohol is no longer on your breath, it’s important to wait to drive or operate heavy machinery until the alcohol is fully out of your system.

What If I’m Asked to Take a Breath Alcohol Test?

As long as you’ve properly followed the steps to ensure that you have no alcohol on your breath or in your system, there shouldn’t be any problem with performing a breath alcohol test. This includes waiting to drive until after the alcohol has left your bloodstream. Generally, alcohol can be detected in a blood test up to 12 hours after consumption.

As per Pennsylvania law, if you’re operating a vehicle, you’ve already given implied consent to submit to a breathalyzer test. Therefore, if you refuse, you will face civil penalties and may be charged with driving under the influence.

However, you may avoid being convicted of a DUI if you follow these steps:

  • Remain silent, and only give your name and address
  • Agree to the breathalyzer test
  • Ask for an independent blood alcohol test (you’ll have to pay for this test, but it can help protect your rights)
  • After you’ve taken the officer’s test, ask for an attorney

An experienced DUI lawyer can help ensure that you don’t answer any questions that can incriminate you. They can also protect your rights if you’ve been arrested for DWI or a DUI and may even be able to mitigate the consequences for you. 

Remember, take precautions after drinking to ensure that you don’t have alcohol in your system before driving. And remember the laws in Pennsylvania regarding breath alcohol tests.

Contact Our DUI Law Firm in West Chester, PA

If you are facing criminal charges and need legal help, contact the West Chester, PA DUI lawyers at DiCindioLaw, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation.

DiCindio Law, LLC

29 S Walnut St
West Chester, PA 19382
(610) 430-3535