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Can you fool a breath test?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2024 | Drunk Driving

When faced with a potential DUI charge, many individuals might wonder if it’s possible to fool a breath test. Breath tests, measure the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of individuals who are suspected of driving while impaired. 

While numerous myths and misconceptions seem to make the rounds again and again about outsmarting these devices, the reality is that fooling a breath test is highly unlikely and attempting to do so can result in serious legal consequences.

Common myths debunked

Breathalyzers are designed to provide accurate measurements of BAC by analyzing the alcohol content of an individual’s breath. These devices are usually calibrated accurately and maintained to better ensure their reliability and their results are accepted in court as evidence of impairment. Nevertheless, the following myths persist in many circles:

  • Mouthwash and breath mints: Some people believe that using mouthwash, breath mints or chewing gum can mask the smell of alcohol and alter the results of a breathalyzer. However, many mouthwashes and breath mints contain alcohol, which can actually increase a BAC reading. Breathalyzers measure alcohol in the lungs, not the mouth, so these methods are ineffective.
  • Sucking on pennies: There is a persistent myth that sucking on a penny can trick a breathalyzer. This myth is entirely unfounded. There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that copper or any other substance in a penny can interfere with the chemical reactions in a breathalyzer.
  • Hyperventilating or holding one’s breath: Some believe that hyperventilating or holding their breath before a breath test can alter BAC results. While hyperventilating might slightly lower a BAC reading temporarily, it is unlikely to change the result significantly enough to pass a breathalyzer test. Holding your breath, on the other hand, can actually increase a BAC reading.
  • Drinking water: Drinking water or other non-alcoholic beverages can help you stay hydrated but won’t significantly affect your BAC. Breathalyzers measure the concentration of alcohol in your breath, which correlates with the alcohol level in your bloodstream, not your level of hydration.

Attempting to fool a breath test is not only ineffective but also illegal. If an officer suspects that you are trying to manipulate the results, you could face additional charges and penalties on top of any impaired driving charges you may face as a result of a suspected drunk driving stop. 


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