Put My 30-Plus Years Of Experience To Work For You

How to beat a breathalyzer

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2024 | DUI/DWI

Breathalyzers, in the form of hand-held devices that the police often use to gauge someone’s sobriety and get a read on their level of blood alcohol content (BAC), have become ubiquitous tools in law enforcement’s efforts to curb drunk driving. Consequently, people have devoted a lot of energy into finding ways to circumvent their readings. 

So, how do you beat a breathalyzer? You don’t – although that hasn’t stopped people from trying.

Urban legends about breathalyzers abound, but you’d better not rely on them

People will swear that these things work – and others rely on these faux tricks and tips to their detriment. Some of the most common fictions you may hear include:

  • Sucking on a penny: Supposedly, the copper interferes with the mechanism used in breathalyzer devices and causes them to read lower. This is absolute nonsense, and you could choke (so please don’t even try this). Not only is this story born of bad science, but pennies are mostly made of nickel. 
  • Using mints, gum and mouthwash: All this will do is freshen your breath, but it won’t make your BAC read any lower. In the case of mouthwash, you may even make your BAC read higher since many mouthwashes contain alcohol. 
  • Hyperventilating: An old study indicated that sudden, intense exercise and hyperventilation could lower someone’s BAC by 10%, but no police officer is going to stand idly by while you drop down for push ups or purposefully hyperventilate before you blow into a device. If anything, you’ll only increase their suspicions that you’re impaired.

The only real way to guarantee a low BAC reading is to just not drink and drive. If you’ve made a mistake, however, don’t compound it by trying any of the above. Instead, invoke your right to remain silent until you can find out more about your possible defenses.