Having any alcohol on your breath can get you arrested these days. While many people believe there is a legal limit of .08 for the blood alcohol level (BAC) but, in reality, you can be arrested in many places for a level much lower than that. There are reasons for this. About 28 people die every day as a result of accidents involving drunk drivers. Every year, alcohol related car crashes costs about $59 billion. If you have been convicted of driving while under the influence (DUI) you know the costs to you. The car breathalyzer alone is a pricey item.
If you have been convicted, in addition to having to use an interlock device, you may have to do things to show that you are remaining sober. Some people do not have the car breathalyzer costs but have to wear an anklet that will detect any alcohol in their system. The interlock device is not the only way probation and other monitoring agencies can prevent the repeat offender from doing it again. Although, the ignition interlock is very effective. It has been shown that DUI offenders who are required to put one in their vehicle are about 40% less likely to drive while impaired again as compared to the people who never had to deal with the car breathalyzer cost.
While many people, who are on probation or in a program where abstinence from alcohol is mandatory, know about the EtG testing that can be done on the urine, not many are aware of the fact that the same test can be performed on the hair. When you drink any alcohol, or do any drugs for that matter, some of it ends up in the hair follicle. A few years ago, a physician in Texas was accused of cocaine possession and use. The hospital where he worked wanted to fire him. When he showed up to be tested for the drug, he was 100% hairless. He had shaved his entire body to avoid a positive drug test.
In any case, when you drink, the same metabolites that are excreted in your urine, are deposited in your hair. The main difference is that it clears out of your pee a lot faster than out of your hair. The EtG urine test will be negative after several days (how may varies from person to person). The companies that make the urine test claim it will be accurate for up to 80 hours but that is probably unrealistic.
The EtG hair test will detect anything for up to 90 days. The hair test basically shows the average amount of alcohol consumed over that period of time.
There are a few things you may want to know about this test:
- The hair test cannot tell if someone is drunk. This would not make for a good interlock device and despite the car breathalyzer cost, that is a better way to determine someone’s sobriety level. While the hair can be used to detect past alcohol use, it takes at least four or five days for the metabolite to reach the hair.
- The hair test does not show what day the alcohol consumption happened. If you go to probation and they take a sample of hair, you will not hear “We see you had a drink on Tuesday.” They will just get a level for the average amount of EtG in your system.
- One drink will most likely not show up in your hair. Because this is an average level of EtG. This is because of the cut off level used by most labs. EtG is excreted in small amounts when you drink. The labs that process all EtG tests have a cut off level to rule out any EtG being present due to incidental or environmental exposure. One drink in three months should be lower than the threshold and should not show up in the hair test.
Drinking and driving is just not worth the risk of being in an accident. The consequences of a DUI are serious. The car breathalyzer cost is just one of the many costs that you will pay if you are convicted of this crime.