Debunking the Most Common Myths About “Beating the Breathalyzer”

There are more urban myths surrounding the breathalyzer than any other law enforcement tool. Perhaps your best friend swears she was able to trick the machine by sucking on a penny, or you overheard your coworker boasting how breath spray saved him from a DUI charge. Does it sound too good, too easy, to be true? That’s because it is.

Here are some of the more common myths about the breathalyzer, and why they are just that- myths.

Myth – Putting a penny under your tongue will absorb alcohol

The theory is that the copper in pennies will react to alcohol in a way that produces a chemical reaction, and that reaction interferes with Breathalyzer results. Aside from the fact that pennies are primarily made from zinc, it’s impossible for any coin to absorb alcohol. Police officer also check your mouth prior to Breathalyzer administration, so even if the legend were true, it would not work.

Myth – Breath spray or mouthwash will cover up the alcohol on your breath

Breathalyzer technology does not use scent to detect alcohol. Rather, it uses infrared to test the amount of alcohol on your breath. It’s also a fact that most breath sprays and mouth washes contain alcohol, so applying them prior to testing can actually increase the alcohol vapor on your breath and create a high blood alcohol content (BAC) reading.

Myth – Drinking coffee or having something to eat will make you more alert and trick the machine

The Breathalyzer machine tests your breath to determine your BAC, not your alertness level or the amount of liquor in your stomach. Eating and drinking may wake you up more and even remove the scent of alcohol from your breath, but only time can lower your actual BAC.

Myth – Hyperventilating, holding your breath, or exercising prior to testing will fool the Breathalyzer

While an old study did state that heavy exercise and hyperventilation could lower a BAC reading by up to 10%, holding your breath can actually result in a 20% increase. Besides, there’s little chance to carry out vigorous exercise after you’re pulled over, and if a police officer sees you hyperventilating, they will wait until your breathing returns to normal before testing you. Some people try to manipulate their reading by refraining from blowing hard, but modern machines deliver accurate BAC results even with small breath samples.

If you are facing DUI charges in Utah, don’t rely on myths to further your case. Let a skilled DUI attorney safeguard your rights and challenge the evidence against you.  For assistance in mounting a solid DUI defense, contact Arnold Wadsworth & Coggins today. We will explain the various options that may be available to you and be your strongest advocate as you fight the charges.

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Written by Arnold Wadsworth Coggins

Arnold, Wadsworth & Coggins Attorneys is a premier Utah law firm serving the Wasatch Front in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, criminal law, and civil litigation. Our attorneys provide clients with exceptional legal representation and personal attention. With over 35 years of trial practice and litigation experience, we bring big firm expertise at affordable rates