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No, putting a penny in your mouth cannot trick a DUI breath test

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | DUI/DWI

If you have ever driven when you are tipsy, you were probably thankful to reach your destination without running into a police officer. After all, New York has some substantial consequences for driving under the influence. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, these consequences typically include the loss of your driving privileges.

Officers cannot arrest you on a whim, of course. Indeed, before placing you in handcuffs, officers must have probable cause to believe you are under the influence of alcohol. If you fail a DUI breath test, you give officers the probable cause they need to justify your arrest.

Do not believe urban legends

There are many DUI-related urban legends that have been around for decades.  A common one suggests that sucking on a penny can fool a DUI breath test. Like with other urban legends, this myth has some basis in fact. Specifically, when breath testing was in its infancy, metals could interfere with the test’s results.

That is no longer the case, however. Indeed, because DUI breath testing has advanced significantly, having a penny in your mouth is unlikely to have any effect on the outcome of a breath test.

Keep yourself safe

Pennies are about the same size as your esophagus, so if you suck on a penny, you have some risk of choking and dying. Moreover, because coins are dirty, you might become very sick after putting a penny in your mouth.

Even worse, because officers know about the penny myth, sucking on one is likely to raise their suspicions. Ultimately, rather than trying to beat the breath test with a penny, it is advisable to know and exercise your legal rights during any DUI stop.