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Fool a Breath Test

“I heard if you suck on a penny it will neutralize the alcohol you drank and you can beat a breath test. Maybe it was a quarter. Or, a dime. I can’t remember. If you are about to get busted for DWI, just grab whatever change you can find and throw it in your mouth.”

Does it work? Absolutely not.

How about eating toilet paper?[1] Or, eating your own underwear?[2]

No. And, no!

In clear desperation to avoid a DWI, futile attempts are made to throw off a breath test. The idea behind sucking on a penny, or ingesting any item, is that the item will neutralize or absorb the alcohol in your system, and skew the results of a breathalyzer. The reason why these are all terrible ideas is that a breathalyzer is estimating your blood alcohol concentration from deep lung breath, or the production of aveolar. The alcohol is already in your bloodstream after partying all night. A few minutes of sucking on currency or consuming toiletries is not going to magically undo hours of alcohol consumption.

What about smoking a cigarette? Chewing gum? Or, using mouthwash?

People often light a heater, or pop an Altoid, after a cop pulls them over and they start to worry about a potential DWI. Masking the smell of booze in the car or on a person’s breath sounds like a good idea. But, trying to throw a cop’s scent off rarely works. Officers often note in their reports when someone attempts to mask the smell of an alcoholic beverage. Plus, it is not going to help much if you were swerving all over the road or in a ditch. Additionally, the officer may notice you slurring your speech like a drunken sailor and ask you to perform field sobriety tests anyway. Furthermore, smoking a cigarette may actually increase your blood alcohol concentration on a breath test because of chemical interactions.[3]

Last, but not least, using mouthwash prior to a breath test, is probably the worst idea of them all because most contain alcohol. Mouth alcohol dissipates after fifteen minutes, but if you take a breath test within that period of time after using mouthwash containing alcohol, then the results will likely be elevated.

What if I hide a battery under my tongue during a breath test? While not highly recommended by your doctor, it is also unlikely to work because officers check your mouth prior to taking a breath test for foreign objects.

Attempting to throw off a breath test by putting a foreign object in your mouth is generally a terrible idea. If you are arrested for a DWI, before taking an evidentiary breath test, the best advice is to call a lawyer. Minnesota’s Implied Consent law requires officers to give you an opportunity to consult with an attorney before deciding to take a test. If you are so drunk you are considering eating your own underwear, the best advice may be to not take the test.

For a free consultation, please contact Ambrose Law Firm at 612-547-3199 or ambroselegal@icloud.com.

Robert H. Ambrose is a DWI / DUI and criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He recently became a member of the National College for DUI / DWI Defense; has a Lead Counsel Rating in Drunk Driving Defense; and was named a “10 Best” DWI Attorney in Minnesota for Client Satisfaction. 

[1] Recently, while wearing a flattering Halloween costume, this Iowa man ate toilet paper in an attempt to fool a breath test during a DWI arrest.

[2] While sitting in the back of a police car, this Canadian man ripped the crotch out of his underwear and tried to eat it attempting to thwart his DWI breath test.

[3] Some smokers produce acetaldehyde on their breaths and some breath test machines cannot distinguish alcohol from acetaldehyde.

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