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You can't fool a Breathalyzer as easily as you might think

There's a common misconception around Breathalyzer tests that has led people to try some outrageous -- and dangerous -- things to fool those machines if they've been pulled over for a traffic stop after they've been drinking.

A lot of people think that a Breathalyzer measures the smell of the alcohol from your mouth -- so they get the idea that if they can disguise the smell, they can fool the Breathalyzer.

It doesn't work that way. Breathalyzers actually measure the alcohol molecules that are coming from your lungs (which is why you have to breathe deeply into them) -- so some of the things that people have tried to defeat a Breathalyzer are simply absurd. Others are actually counter-productive entirely.

For example, one South Carolina man recently tried emptying a bottle of Axe Body Spray into his mouth when stopped for suspected drunk driving. His blood alcohol content still tested more than twice the legal limit.

Other people have tried sucking on pennies in the belief that the zinc neutralizes the alcohol. One fellow ate toilet paper, apparently thinking that the paper would soak up the alcohol in his system and prevent him from breathing it out. Breath mints and antacids are other common ploys that are bound to fail.

A couple familiar tricks that officers have seen include belching into the Breathalyzer during testing. That could actually bring more alcohol up out of your lungs and increase the machine's reading. Keeping mouthwash in the car in case you are pulled over is also a bad idea for a similar reason, since most brands actually contain alcohol in them.

The only real way to avoid a drunk driving charge is to drive sober. It is, however, possible for a Breathalyzer to be wrong. They are often poorly handled and miscalibrated or simply not well-made. If you've been charged, get an experienced defense attorney working on your behalf.

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