Question: Can the way a person blows into the Maryland breath test machine impact the results?
Answer: The answer to that question is yes the forcefulness of blowing into the machine can impact it, which is why police officers will often tell a person to take a very deep breath and blow as hard as they can. That in and of itself can increase the number because if you take a deep breath and you hold it deep in your lungs and then you exhale as hard as you can, you’re giving the alcohol in your lungs the ability to interact, the alcohol in your lungs to interact with the oxygen in your lungs and then when you exhale it, you’re actually giving the maximum number that you could possibly give by taking a deep breath and holding it.
A more fair and neutral way to do it would simply be to breath in a normal fashion, and then to exhale into the machine. Conversely, if one were to breathe almost in a hyper vigilant fashion—in and out, in and out, in and out—this conversely would tend to lower the BAC number because you’re not giving the alcohol in your lungs in the lining of your lungs the ability to interact and store up as you would when you hold your breath. So to minimize one’s number, breathing in and out in an exaggerated fashion fairly quickly and then exhaling would have a slight benefit to the licensee.
Needless to say, the licensee or defendant is not permitted, nor should they put anything in their mouth 20 minutes prior to blowing. That is a rule in the state of Maryland. The officer is, in fact, required to watch a defendant for 20 minutes prior to them blowing into the machine, and rarely do they do that because they’re involved in other activities. They often just come back and get the defendant and have them blow in the machine without watching them. So that is also a potential defense to a case. If someone were to drink water, for example, prior to blowing into the machine, this would have the impact of sort of washing out any potential mouth alcohol that was in their mouth or upper area esophagus. So drinking of any water, which is probably not a bad idea to clean out mouth alcohol types of situations, but one is not supposed to put anything in their mouth.
They are supposed to be properly advised of their rights and they are supposed to be watched for 20 minutes prior to blowing in the machine. And then, as I’ve indicated just moments ago, the way one blows into the machine can and does have an impact on the number.