Sucking on a penny and 3 other DUI myths

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Brian E. Gordon, Criminal Defense, Gordon & Hess, PLC |

One of the most common drunk driving-related myths is that drivers can pass or trick breath tests by sucking on a penny. 

A breath test is a small portable machine that the police can ask drivers to blow in to get a blood alcohol reading (BAC), which is the amount of alcohol in the body. The penny is supposedly meant to disrupt the BAC reading, but the most that will happen is a driver will taste a bit of copper. 

This is just one of a few myths that make the rounds. Here’s what drivers should really know:

Myth 1: Coffee can suppress the effects of alcohol 

Truth: People often drink coffee to wake up before they drive, especially after drinking alcohol. Coffee is an adrenaline and alcohol is a suppressant, which, in theory, would mean the two cancel each other out. The truth is that alcohol is absorbed into the blood and coffee can’t prevent alcoholic effects. Many people will feel the effects of alcohol and coffee simultaneously, often making them worse drivers. 

Myth 2: The best field sobriety test is spelling the alphabet backward

Truth: Drivers may be asked to take field sobriety tests, which are physical examinations to help the police gather evidence against a driver. One test the police may have a driver do is spell the alphabet backward. While it may seem like this test can give an accurate judgment on a driver, it often can’t. The average person likely can’t spell the alphabet backward even if they are sober. 

Myth 3: Urine tests are the most accurate chemical sobriety test

Truth: There are three kinds of chemical sobriety tests: blood, urine and breath. Out of the three, many people take breath tests because they are readily available during traffic stops. However, drivers may have the choice to do a urine or blood test. Urine tests are the least accurate of these tests. 

When learning about DUI charges online and from friends, it’s often important to take it with a grain of salt. People who are experienced in the law can provide accurate information about DUI charges and criminal defense.