A Penny in the Mouth & 4 Other Myths About Beating the Breathalyzer

You might have heard a story from a coworker or former college roommate that they were able to get out of a DUI by tricking the breathalyzer machine. It sounds too good to be true right? And it is. Today we’re going to address some of the more common myths out there regarding this tool police use to charge someone with a DUI.

Myth – Putting a penny in your mouth will absorb alcohol

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Pennies, or any other coin for that matter, do nothing to absorb alcohol. Regardless of efficacy, standard procedure dictates that police officers check your mouth for any objects before breathalyzer administration, so it would be discovered and removed beforehand, anyway.

Myth – Food or coffee can help me sober up fast and fool the machine

A breathalyzer machine uses infrared technology to analyze your breath to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC), not the amount of alcohol in your stomach or your level of alertness. Many people think eating food or drinking caffeine will help,  but only time will reduce your BAC. So even if you eat or drink something, although it may change the smell of your breath or make you feel more alert, the breathalyzer will still measure your BAC.

Myth – You can get a false positive from a breathalyzer test

This depends on the type of breathalyzer used by your law enforcement agency. Higher quality machines that use fuel cell sensing cannot be thrown off by other elements. However, lower grade machines sometimes may produce a false positive for people who are diabetic or can be triggered by certain substances in the surrounding air.

Myth – A breathalyzer test won’t yield results if you abstain from alcohol

Our bodies produce gas as a byproduct of metabolism, and from time to time certain people – such as diabetics, as mentioned above – will create more ethanol than what is considered average, . Because of this overproduction, it is actually possible to be considered legally drunk based upon the results of the test even if you are sober.

Myth – Mouthwash or breath spray will hide the alcohol on your breath

A breathalyzer doesn’t “smell” alcohol, rather it relies on infrared technology to test the amount of alcohol on your breath.  Mouthwash and breath spray both contain alcohol. So, while the idea to cover the smell of alcohol seems to make sense, using mouthwash or breath spray actually adds to the amount of alcohol vapor on your breath resulting in a higher BAC reading.  

If you have been charged with a DUI and you’re not sure what to do, contact the Greg McCollum Complete Legal Defense Team today. We can help you with your case and get the fair treatment you deserve.

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Written by Greg McCollum CLDT

Greg McCollum CLDT

At the Complete Legal Defense Team we represent, assist, and defend people who are accused of crimes. Being accused of a crime is a harrowing experience. You experience public shame and humiliation and do not know where to turn for help. We are experienced and knowledgeable and will take immediate steps to begin repairing your life. We evaluate how the allegation affects your reputation in the community, how it affects your time and your life, and how it will affect you financially. Believe it or not, many people who are arrested and charged with crimes are innocent.