Can you beat a breathalyzer test by sucking on a penny before (or maybe while) you blow?

One of my friends told me that he did.

Update:

There are at least 3 kinds of breathalyzers according to howstuffworks. Maybe there's some metal in the penny that either absorbs something the breathalyzer detects, or reacts with something in the mouth releasing some gas that somehow hides the alcohol or confuses the machine.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    No. While visiting a state police station some years ago, I found out how breathalyzers work. It uses the same principle that I used in a high school chemistry experiment: reduction of silver nitrate to metallic silver, using a mild reducing agent. In the high school experiment, the reducer was sugar, but in a breathalyzer it is the alcohol in your breath. The same technique was used for many years to prepare silvered mirrors. (Nowadays, aluminum is used, because it is cheaper and stronger.) The breathalyzer chemicals include an oxidizing agent, which restores the silver nitrate for further use. So, the bottom line is: if you have alcohol on your breath, the breathalyzer will see it.

  • Loreen
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    No. The Intoxilyzer (the device used in my jurisdiction) collects a breath sample in a chamber. The chamber has to receive a certain amount of pressure from the breath and then experience a slope (leveling off) of alcoholic vapors in the sample before accepting the sample. If you suck on the mouth piece you will make the instrument display No Test or Invalid Sample. The instrument also makes a nice whistle/beeping noise when it is being done correctly. I had a gal do this one night. Not because she was trying to beat the instrument. She was just to drunk to figure out how to do the test.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I doubt seriously that the police officer will let you put the penny in your mouth before he asks you to blow. AND if by chance you had the thought to put a penny in your mouth before getting pulled over, then you obviously aren't drunk enough to need a breathalyzer anyway.

  • 1 decade ago

    Not only does a penny make no difference to the breathalyzer test, but also, it makes no difference to the driving ability when drunk, or to the blood alcohol level when it is tested after the drunk is involved in a car accident.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Oxidation reactions? What? No, if it was on oxidation reaction, putting a penny in your mouth would work. A breathalizer does IR spectroscopy. Basically, it looks for a carboxilate group (the -OH group in an alcohol). It gives off a certain signature that the breathalizer looks for. If the -OH group is present, it tells you how much is there as a percent of other molecules present. But, if you happen to have some rubbing alcohol present, take a swig, then you could just say you weren't drunk, just stupid and sippin on gin and isopropyl. Don't know if you vision is worth fooling a breathalizer.

    Source(s): Me.
  • 1 decade ago

    No very few things can mess up a breathalyzer

  • 1 decade ago

    No it doesn't work that way. Sucking on a penny is like buying a lotto ticket for jail.

  • 1 decade ago

    I heard that eating dirt can beat a breathalizer. Seriously I have some friends that did that. Best thing is not to drink and drive.

  • 1 decade ago

    No, and if i might give you a little free advice, don`t listen to that friend about anything important, ya know, stuff that could land your butt in jail or the E.R.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think it is impossible. Don't be so foolish to try this. I am sure that your friend is telling lie. Don't believe him.

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