Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyers

Can Sucking on a Penny Alter a Breathalyzer Test?

A DUI arrest, and potentially a conviction, is a serious situation that could change your life forever. Being able to separate myths from reality is essential.

One of the most pervasive myths surrounding DUI stops: Sucking on a penny can lower your BAC test results.

The “science” behind the claim is that the copper in the one-cent piece somehow interacts with the alcohol in your system. Some claim it can lower your BAC reading on the breathalyzer. Others say the copper causes a BAC reading so high any attempt at an arrest of conviction would get thrown out of court.

In fact, some say the reason the U.S. Treasury switched to mostly zinc pennies in 1982 was to prevent intoxicated drivers from using this simple trick to avoid charges.

Fact or fiction?

So, is it true? Can you suck on a penny to change your BAC on a breathalyzer reading?


Despite protests from countless college freshmen across the country, this one couldn’t be further from the truth. The copper in a penny has no effect on the breathalyzer test.

Even the Mythbusters busted this stuff!

While we’re at it, none of these techniques have any effect either:

  • sucking on any other kind of coin/metal
  • eating mints or chewing gum
  • using mouthwash
  • eating garlic
  • chewing vitamin C tablets
  • hyperventilating or breathing heavily right before the test
  • burping as you’re taking the test

And the real reason the U.S. switched from copper to zinc in pennies decades ago? The zinc-based coins saved the treasury $25 million a year.

DUI Advice You Can Trust

Instead of relying on old wives’ tales to get yourself out of potentially dangerous situations,such predicaments your best bet is to avoid putting yourself in those dangerous situations in the first place.

But if you find yourself facing a potential DUI arrest or charge, your best bet is to know your rights going into the situation. Here are several steps to take:

  • Take any breathalyzer test the officer asks you to take, but do not offer unnecessary information.
  • Write down the events of the night, including the police stop, in as much detail as you can remember.
  • Contact an attorney with experience handling DUI cases in New Jersey or Pennsylvania to figure out your best next steps to take.

If you or someone close to you is facing a DUI/DWI charge, an aggressive Abington DUI defense lawyer may be all that stands between you and a life-altering conviction. Call our law offices today to get the help and peace of mind you need during this trying time in your life. We’ve handled more than 10,000 criminal cases across Pennsylvania. Call our Bucks County criminal defense lawyers today — we have 24-hour availability.