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5 ways you can’t beat a Breathalyzer

On Behalf of | Oct 28, 2021 | Drunk Driving |

“Finding ways to beat a Breathalyzer” is the modern equivalent of trying to find a way to sober up a drunk. Just like cold showers and black coffee were myths, none of the tricks you hear that supposedly guarantee that you’ll pass a chemical breath test work either.

Just the same, urban legends persist, so let’s talk about all the ways you can’t beat a Breathalyzer test:

Holding your breath

This will actually make the alcohol content in your mouth rise — and studies indicate it will increase your blood alcohol content (BAC) reading by as much as 20%.


This rumor gets pulled out a lot because a very old, very dubious study said that it could lower BAC readings by 10% — but that’s unlikely to work with modern devices. Plus, there’s no way a police officer is going to let you get away with that before blowing.

Breath fresheners or chewing gum

The only thing these do is make your breath smell less like alcohol. That makes them more useful to you before you roll down your window and get close enough for the police officer to smell the liquor on your breath.

Rinsing with mouthwash

At best, this will make your breath fresher — just like mints or gum. At worst, it will actually raise your BAC. Most mouthwashes have some alcohol in them, so swishing that stuff around your mouth before you blow is asking for trouble.

Sucking on a penny

Please don’t do this: The choking hazard is very real. The belief was that the copper in the penny created a chemical reaction that “neutralized” either the alcohol in your breath or interfered with the testing device. Neither is true (and pennies are largely made of zinc these days, anyway).

It’s far better to avoid a drunk driving charge in the first place but, if you make a mistake, don’t hesitate to explore all your defense options. A charge doesn’t necessarily mean a conviction.