Can You Really Fool The Breath Test Machine by Putting a Penny in Your Mouth?

A pile of pennies, some old and dark, some new and shiny.

You’ve probably heard a whole boatload of weird urban legends in your time about how to avoid a DUI arrest. Things like carrying mouthwash in your car and using some right before the officer walks up to your window (doesn’t work!). Or another false one that suggests chewing gum can help you fool the breathalyzer (which is actually a DataMaster machine).. But one of the most popular myths when it comes to beating the breath test machine is the one that says you can fool a breathalyzer by sucking on a penny. So is it true?

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How Michigan’s Ongoing ‘Breathalyzer Fraud’ Investigation Affects You!

A blackboard with the word "update" written on it, with a person's hand holding a clock

The Michigan State Police are currently investigating the third party vendor (Intoximeters) responsible for servicing and maintaining the 203 DataMaster DMT machines in use across the state of Michigan. DataMaster DMTs are the type of machine Michigan law enforcement uses to breath test potentially drunk drivers once they’re back at the station after an arrest. Although roadside breath tests are used to help officers determine if someone is likely intoxicated, those results aren’t admissible in court. Only the results of the DataMaster test, taken back at the police station or jail, can be used as evidence in court. And now even those are in question

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Drugged Driving Can Include Driving Under The Influence of Legal Painkillers as Well!

A pile of prescription pills in their packaging.

When people hear about someone being charged with drugged driving, they usually assume that the driver facing charges were high on heroin, cocaine, meth, or some other illegal substance. (And then there’s weed, which is legal to use recreationally in Michigan, but you still can’t drive under the influence!) But what about legal painkillers?

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Choose Your Ride: The Catchy Cop Slogan Applies Here in Michigan as Well!

A cop car from Glendale, California that is painted to be half a cop car and half a taxi as a reminder that you can choose one to avoid the other.
These clever cop cars from Glendale, California, are reminding people to choose their ride home from the bar carefully.

Law enforcement officials come up with some pretty interesting ideas to raise awareness of drunk driving these days. From printed coasters left in bars to remind drinkers to call a cab, to the creative ads plastered on billboards during March Madness, it’s always interesting to see what they’ll come up with next. So when we saw this cop car from Glendale, California, painted to look like half a taxi and half a cop car to remind people that they need to be careful which ride they choose. 

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MSP is Investigating a Vendor For Providing Faulty Breath Testing Services!

An officer standing next to a person in a car, putting the results of a test into an evidence bag.
Countless DUI cases all over Michigan could be affected by this new issue regarding the state’s breath testing machines.

If there’s one thing you can rely on the Michigan State Police for, it’s the fact that when something potentially bad happens that could affect police departments in Michigan, they don’t hunker down and pretend it isn’t happening. They grab it by the horns and fight. It was like that when there were allegations of corruption in the Detroit Forensic Lab, which resulted in an investigation by MSP and a scathing report that got that crime lab shuttered for good. And now that there’s a possibility of corruption by a third party vendor tasked with servicing Datamaster breath testing machines across the state. (Which are the machines that some people call ‘Breathalyzers.) It seems some of the data documenting the servicing of breath test machines around the state is faulty… 

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Judge Says Prosecutors Must Disclose Failed DUI Testing Info to Defendants

A clsoe up of a person's ahnds reaching out of a car window to take the cap off a breath test machine that an officer is handing to them.
Breath testing can be a reliable source of info about possible alcohol consumption… but not always! And many factors can affect the results!

A recent important case has set the tone for other, future DUI cases in Michigan after a Lansing district court judge threw out a guilty verdict because the prosecutor didn’t disclose information that might have helped the defendant. This is called exculpatory evidence. It all started back in November of 2018, when 43-year-old Patrick Reynolds of Grand Rapids hit a pole with his car near an intersection in Lansing, Michigan. It was about 2 am, and he had just left the bar and was driving home when he lost control of his vehicle and struck the pole in Ingham County. 

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It’s That Time of Year – The Holliest, Jolliest, DUIiest Time of The Year!

A bottle of egg nog and two cups of egg nog next to a Christmas cupcake and a handful of pine leaves and cranberries
A lot more festive get-togethers and Christmas parties means more people drinking and then driving home. Don’t make that mistake!

For most people, when we think of the holidays, we think of giving gifts to loved ones, decorating the Christmas tree, and spending time with family. What we rarely think about is a ride in a cop car, a lonely stint in the local jail, and criminal charges. And yet for many people, that’s exactly what happens! Because believe it or not, drunk driving and drugged driving arrests rise sharply around the holidays.

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New Report Shows That Breathalyzer Machines Are Often Unreliable!

A close up of a police officer handing a driver a breathalyzer test through the window of their vehicle.

The report reveals disturbing info about breath testing in the US!

Drunk driving accounts for hundreds of thousands of arrests every year, all over the country. Here in Michigan, more than 35,000 people are arrested for DUIs every year. That’s a lot of people being pulled over and subjected to breath tests, roadside sobriety tests, and eventually blood work. But what if right off the bat, the data is wrong? What if you get pulled over and breath-tested by the cops, but the Breathalyzer machine (or the Datamaster, which is what we use here in Michigan) is wrong? Will you end up wrongfully accused of being drunk behind the wheel when you’re not? Maybe…

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Is it Possible to be Drunk When You’re Sober? Apparently, For Some People it is… (Pt 2)

A close up of the clean and shining tanks inside a brewery, where beer is professionally and intentionally brewed.
A person suffering from auto-brewery syndrome is the only person who will ever brew beer accidentally… inside their own body!

Welcome back to this interesting and, let’s be honest, somewhat alarming discussion about “auto-brewery syndrome.” If you recall from the previous article, it’s a medical condition where, courtesy of an imbalance of yeast or bacteria in the digestive tract, a person’s gut produces ethanol from carbohydrates they eat. And since ethanol is what intoxicates you when you drink alcohol, you don’t have to think hard to imagine the results. (That’s right – you end up drunk when you’ve had nothing to drink and should be stonecold sober!)

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Is it Possible to be Drunk When You’re Sober? Apparently, For Some People it is… (Pt 1)

A picture of a copper brewing vessel in a brewery where beer and ale is made.
Auto-brewery syndrome is very rare, but for those who suffer from it, they can end up drunk when they haven’t had a drop to drink!

Usually, when someone gets pulled over for drunk driving and they swear they’re sober but their BAC reading comes back above above the legal limit, you can safely make a few assumptions. Either: one: they’re lying, or two: the preliminary breath test results (PBT) are wrong. Maybe the person is hoping their denial will work and the cop will let them go, or maybe the cop forgot to properly calibrate his preliminary breath test machine. 

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