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Can you fool a Breathalyzer into thinking you're not drunk?

We've all heard them before: those urban myths about drinking and driving and how to avoid criminal charges if you get stopped. One myth says that if you suck on some pennies, the copper will neutralize the alcohol. Another says that swishing with mouthwash before an officer administers a breath test is the best way to get out of a DUI arrest.

Not only are the majority of these myths wrong, but partaking in some of them can actually lead to serious drunk-driving charges in the process. And depending on if you seek the help of a skilled attorney, and how effective you are at presenting your defense, you could find yourself facing a conviction as well -- even if you were not intoxicated.

Let's take a look at one of these incriminating myths and see how a conviction could come about.

Myth: Use breath spray or mouthwash to avoid a DUI

This urban myth has been around for more than a decade and was even featured on a 2003 episode the "Myth Busters." The myth says that using breath spray or mouthwash will mask the actual level of alcohol in your blood stream, allowing you to get out of a DUI charge.

But this myth is only partially true. It will mask your blood-alcohol content but in an adverse way. As you may already know, a breath test works by measuring the amount of alcohol vapor in your breath. But because many breath sprays and mouthwashes contain sugar alcohols, breathing into a Breathalyzer after using one of these products can actually register a higher BAC than what you really have.

This myth is the most problematic because it could lead to elevated charges and leave the accused in serious need of an attorney.

Even though the admission of using either or both of the products prior to a Breathalyzer, along with a blood test, may explain the false results, it may not be enough to prevent drunk driving charges. This is especially true if a blood draw shows a .08 BAC or higher.

Either way, a person should always consider legal representation following a DUI arrest, especially because of the consequences they could face if they're convicted.

Sources: chemistry.about.com, "Can You Beat a Breathalyzer Test?" Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., Nov. 15, 2013

How Stuff Works, "How Breathalyzers Work," Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D., Accessed Sept. 12, 2014

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