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Three Common Sobriety Test Myths And Why They Could Land You A DWI

by Jamie Nichols

While DWI charges are very serious, there are always people who try to test their luck. There are a number of "tricks" that supposedly help you beat a breathalyzer test, but none of these actually work. Here's a look at some of the most common field sobriety test myths, and how believing them could land you a DWI charge.

Myth #1: Mouthwash or mints can help you beat a sobriety test

While a breathalyzer is testing your breath (as the name implies), it's not testing for "fresh" breath. It analyzes breath that comes from deep in your lungs. The amount of alcohol in your system won't be affected if you pop a few mints or take a swig of mouthwash shortly before the test. In fact, if it's obvious to an officer that you've just washed with mouthwash or eaten some mints, they may take that as a sign you've got something to hide.

Myth #2: Sucking on a penny will trick a breathalyzer

Some people who believe this myth even carry a penny or two in their car just for this purpose. The reasoning is that the copper in a penny will confuse the machinery or negate the presence of alcohol. But that's just not true for two reasons. One, copper would have no bearing on the breathalyzer. Alcohol would still be detected on your breath. But more importantly, pennies aren't even made of copper anymore. Pennies produced after 1982 are mainly zinc.

Myth #3: A drunk driver may be asked to say the alphabet backwards

This myth is common on television and in movies - an officer pulls over a suspected drunk driver, and asks them to say the alphabet backwards. But if you ask even a sober person to complete this task, most will start stumbling around "x." While reciting the alphabet is a common field sobriety test, you will not be asked to say it backwards. You'll usually be asked to say it with your eyes closed. The officer is primarily checking to see if you can listen to verbal commands and stand without swaying or using your arms to balance.

In short, the only way to truly beat a sobriety test is to not have alcohol in your system if you're driving. But, if you do happen to find yourself facing DWI charges, it's best to have legal help on your side. A DWI attorney like Hornthal Riley Ellis & Maland LLP has likely dealt with hundreds of cases similar to yours, and knows what's best to do.