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Can coffee, cold showers or sucking on a penny avert a DUI?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

The time-honored method for sobering up an intoxicated individual was to dunk their head under some cold water and then fill them up with a lot of strong, black coffee.

All that will get you is a wide-awake drunk. There’s no cure for intoxication but time – yet this old myth still persists (probably due to wishful thinking). Similarly, there’s a lot of myths out there about how to beat chemical breath testing.

Can you trick a Breathalyzer?

No matter what you’ve heard, you can’t fool a Breathalyzer into giving a (lower) false reading by doing any of the following:

  • Using breath mints before you blow
  • Drinking Zima instead of beer, wine or liquor
  • Eating cotton
  • Hiding a penny in your mouth
  • Belching heavily
  • Eating onions or garlic
  • Using mouthwash

Some of those “tricks,” like the penny, rely on explanations that combine wishful thinking with pseudo-science. Others, like belching or using mouthwash, could actually raise the machine’s reading, not lower it.

However – and this is important to know – Breathalyzers can give false readings. The machines that the police use are delicate instruments, and they have to be calibrated regularly. One that hasn’t been well-maintained can easily give a false high. Readings can also be affected by operator error, which can happen when the officer administering the test doesn’t give a driver the correct instructions.

Can you defend against a drunk driving charge?

No matter what the situation, the best thing you can do once you realize that you’re suspected of drunk driving is to invoke your right to remain silent until you can fully consider your defense options.