Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Attorney Debunks 4 Common Myths about Cheating Breathalyzer Tests

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2016 | Criminal Defense |

Highway Patrol Police Car Next to Alcoholic Drink and Keys Under Spot Light.

Few experiences can match the stress of an OWI arrest. In addition to the financial consequences, an OWI conviction can result in a driver’s license suspension, an order to install an ignition interlock device, community service, and vehicle immobilization – even if it is your first offense. Depending on the nature of your arrest, there may be a defense strategy that convinces the court to reduce the charges or penalties, or to dismiss the case altogether. A criminal defense attorney can evaluate your charges and aggressively fight for a positive outcome. If you were arrested for OWI in Michigan, contact Gordon & Hess, PLC. As a Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyer, Daniel B. Hess Jr. can structure your defense and help you navigate the unpredictable justice system. Call 616-369-7452 to schedule a free half-hour consultation. Until then, read on to learn the truth behind four myths about cheating the breathalyzer: Myth 1: You can use mouthwash or chewing gum to fool the breathalyzer. The only effect that rinsing with mouthwash or chewing gum can have is hiding the smell of alcohol on your breath. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, if you are unlucky enough to choose an alcohol-based mouthwash, it can actually increase your BAC reading. Breathalyzers test the alcohol concentration of air within your lungs, so masking the smell will not help. Myth 2: Batteries can help you beat breathalyzer tests. Because some breathalyzers use currents to measure blood-alcohol content, some scientific logic exists that putting a battery in your mouth will affect the results. However, this theory does not work in practice. Even if it did work, officers must check your mouth beforehand and watch you for some time before they can administer the test. Myth 3: Burping releases alcohol fumes and cheats the machine. Many drivers mistakenly believe that burping will help them beat the test. The idea is that burping will release alcohol fumes from the lungs and reduce the reading. This, however, does not work. In fact, the officer is more likely to smell alcohol on your breath if you burp. Myth 4: Placing a penny beneath your tongue will trick the breathalyzer. This is possibly the most widespread myth about fooling these devices. Unfortunately, it does not work. According to BACtrack, a company that designs breathalyzers, copper pennies and other currencies have no effect on the results. The site also debunks myths related to charcoal, herbs or garlic. What penalties can you expect for a first OWI conviction in Michigan? OWI convictions carry harsh consequences. The penalties you face will depend on several factors including the circumstances of the offense and your criminal record. According to, if there are no aggravating circumstances surrounding your arrest and this is your first offense, then the consequences of an OWI conviction may include:

  • Up to 93 days behind bars;
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to six months;
  • Six points on your license;
  • A fine of up to $500;
  • $1,000 Driver Responsibility Fee for two years;
  • Up to 360 hours of community service;
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device;
  • And vehicle immobilization.

If you are facing OWI charges, contact Gordon & Hess, PLC. A Grand Rapids criminal defense attorney can develop a defense strategy based on the unique facts of your case. Call 616-369-7452 to schedule a consultation.