DUI laws are kind of a mythical thing. No one really knows what the rules are. No one really knows what you should or shouldn't do if investigated for DUI, and there are a lot of rumors and myths out there about what you should do if stopped for DUI. Well, I'm here today to talk about one of those myths I hear all the time - that putting pennies in your mouth if pulled over will help you get out of a DUI.
I'm a Seattle DUI attorney. This means I know a little bit about DUI law, particularly in the State of Washington. I also know a little bit about the science of DUI. I can tell you straight away this is a myth that can be definitively answered, and I'm about to do it.
There are two reasons I often hear for putting pennies in your mouth if pulled over for drunk driving. The first is that it will reduce the odor of alcohol on your breath. The second is that it will make the breath test that you take at the station a lot lower. I'm not sure how these two myths got started, but because it would be cool if they worked, people tend to like to repeat them and, sadly, rely on them in the real world.
Let's talk about the odor of alcohol first. The great thing about the odor of alcohol is that it doesn't really tell a cop whether or not you are too drunk to drive. What it does tell him is that you have been drinking. This is not a crime. The bad news is that whether you have one beer or ten, your breath is going to smell heavily of alcohol (technically alcohol is odorless, but the things mixed with alcohol have a stong odor). It's just the nature of alcohol. And, sadly, pennies won't make this go away. This is a complete myth.
Next, the breath test. Magically, pennies in your mouth can have an affect on the result of your breath test, but probably not in the way you might think. It's not that pennies have any inherent quality that make them mess up the breath test. It's more that anything in your mouth at the time you take the breath test can affect it. The bad thing is that the cops know this. They check your mouth before giving you the test and make sure nothing is in there. So you're out of luck here.
The best thing you can do to avoid a DUI is to not drink and drive. If you are going to drink and drive you should consult a DUI lawyer (or at least check out some websites) to find out exactly what your rights are. Making the right decisions when stopped can mean the difference between a favorable outcome for you and an unfavorable one.From the author: Seattle DUI Attorney