There are all kinds of urban legends and rumors out there about how you can “beat” a Breathalyzer test. People have tried everything from using mouthwash (which can actually raise the blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, score you get) to breath mints (which just won’t work) to fool the machine into a lower reading.
One of the most pervasive myths that seems to keep going around, however, is that you can beat a breath alcohol measuring device just by sucking on a penny when you blow.
Here’s why a penny won’t lower your BAC reading
First, it’s just plain bad science. Supposedly the copper in a penny interferes with the mechanism in the Breathalyzer that measures the concentration of alcohol in your breath. However, not only are modern pennies mostly nickel, but there’s no scientific basis for the myth.
Second, the police officer administering the test is going to notice that there’s a penny in your mouth. Aside from being a choking hazard, it’s not actually all that easy to suck on a penny and blow into a Breathalyzer at the same time. If you aren’t giving the machine your best effort, the officer is just going to make you do it again.
Finally, the fact that you have a penny in your mouth is definitely going to alert the officer that you’re trying to hide something — and that’s never anything you want to broadcast.
Honestly, the best way to “beat” a Breathalyzer test is by not drinking and driving. If you make a mistake, however, make sure you explore all the defense options you may have.