How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System for Breathalyzer?

Alcohol Stay in Your System for Breathalyzer

Did you drink excessive booze last night with friends, and now worried if you can pass the breathalyzer test or not? Then look no further, as the article got it all for you. 

Breathalyzer can detect alcohol for up to 1 day in your body after consumption, depending on how much booze you drank. For example, for people who drank two glasses of booze, a breathalyzer can detect alcohol for up to 3 hours. Nearly 0.015 of the BAC falls every hour. And the calculations are made accordingly.

Now let’s delve into the article and unleash more details.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your System and Can Be Detected By Breathalyzer?

How Long Alcohol Stays In Your System and can be detected by a breathalyzer depends on the type of alcohol and amount consumed. Usually, a breathalyzer is able to detect alcohol in a system within 15 min to 24 hours of its consumption. 

In one hour, 0.015 of alcohol present in the body is metabolized. And one standard glass of booze containing 14 grams of ethanol is known to increase a person’s blood alcohol concentration BAC by nearly 0.2. 

So, if you have consumed one standard glass of alcohol, you need nearly 80 to 90 minutes to return the alcohol concentration to 0.00 again.

How Does A Breathalyzer Work? The Chemical Reaction 

Alcohol Stay in Your System for Breathalyzer

A Breathalyzer is a uniquely designed instrument used that is capable of detecting alcohol presence in a system. 

Soon after you drink booze, your liver starts metabolizing it, resulting in the formation of acetaldehyde. This acetaldehyde enters the bloodstream, and there, it increases the blood alcohol concentration. 

Now, a breathalyzer detects this increase in alcohol concentration through a chemical reaction between alcohol vapors and potassium dichromate. Breathalyzer contains potassium dichromate in it. The reagent is itself bright orange in color, but soon after reacting with alcohol vapors, the color changes to green and creates an electrical signal. The intensity of the signal gets converted into a digital value, giving the exact concentration of alcohol in the blood.

What Is a Breathalyzer Test?

Breathalyzer Test is a test specially designed to find alcohol presence in a person’s blood. 

To pass the breathalyzer test, one’s BAC should be less than the permissible limit defined by that country. It is primarily used to detect if the person is drunk while drinking and if he can drive according to the drinking law.

For most countries, the permitted BAC level is 0.08. However, for Utah, the permissible concentration is 0.05.

Here is a short detail of the effects of different blood alcohol concentrations on the body and perceptions.

  • BAC less than 0.05 makes the body a bit relaxed and less alert.
  • BAC between 0.06 to 0.1 makes the body numb
  • BAC between 0.11 to 0.2 results in mood shifts and aggressive behavior 
  • BAC between 0.21 to 0.3 results in impaired vision and a depressed state
  • Higher than 0.3 leads to unconsciousness and even coma 

How Long Can A Breathalyzer Detect Alcohol in Your System?

A Breathalyzer Detects Alcohol in Your System within a day of consumption. Since 0.015 of BAV reduces per hour, you can calculate the exact amount accordingly.

For example, 

  • One glass of alcohol requires 1 to 2 hours to reduce BAC to zero.
  • Two glasses of alcohol require 3 to 4 hours to reduce BAC back to zero, and so on.

Why Is the Breathalyzer Test Done? The Uses

Alcohol Stay in Your System for Breathalyzer

Now that you are well abreast with how breathalyzers detect alcohol let’s figure out why it is necessary. 

Most of the time, breathalyzers are used by traffic wardens and policemen to find people drunk driving.

The reason is that according to national highway traffic, nearly 30 plus individuals die every day because of drunk driving.

Apart from it, some workplaces also do breathalyzer tests during the screening process along with other alcohol detection tests to ensure a good working space for all employees.

An important statistic is that nearly 50% of the accidents that occur at the workplace are due to drug abuse.

What Other Tests Can Be Performed To Detect Alcohol?

Apart from a breathalyzer, there are several other tests that can be used to detect alcohol. These include:

  • A blood test that gives accurate results for up to 24 hours. The blood is drawn and analyzed for the presence of different metabolites.
  • Hair Sample test that can give positive results for drinking alcohol for up to months. It includes taking a few hairs from the scalp and testing them for ethyl glucuronide and other metabolites.
  • Saliva test, which has a short testing window. It is commonly known as a mouth swab test and is a non-invasive process to detect ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and other metabolites in saliva.
  • A urine test detects alcohol consumption within the past 48 hours in analyzing the urine sample. Usually, the morning urine is taken.

Final Verdict 

Breathalyzer can detect alcohol within 15 minutes of drinking alcohol for up to 24 hours. However, the exact time varies according to the drink size and grams of ethyl alcohol consumed. There are also different ways you can use to beat a breathalyzer test. For people who drink one standard alcohol glass, they can easily pass the breathalyzer test within 3 to 4 hours.

However, if you consume more, it takes longer to lower your blood alcohol concentration as nearly BAC falls by 0.015 per hour. 

Apart from the breathalyzer, there are a number of other tests to detect alcohol presence in the system, like saliva tests, hair tests, etc.

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