Will Chewing Gum Trick a Breathalyzer?

Old wives’ tales say a person can trick a breathalyzer test into registering false results by chewing gum, sucking on a penny, or taking a swig of mouthwash. These theories are all false, and can actually hurt a person’s driving while intoxicated case in North Carolina. 

When a person is pulled over for suspicion of drinking and driving in North Carolina, the officer may ask him or her to perform some tests, such as a walk and turn, one leg stand, and a portable/preliminary breath test (PBT). These tests are optional and the driver can turn them down. If the driver is chewing gum or a breath mint, the officer may see this as a sign of trying to cover the odor of alcohol and will note it as so on a police report, which could be used in a DWI trial when arguing probable cause.

If the officer does find probable cause to arrest the driver for driving while intoxicated, the driver will be asked to take a breathalyzer test. If the driver declines to take this test, NC will automatically revoke his or her license for a year. If the driver consents to the breathalyzer, the officer will check the driver’s mouth for gum, mints, hard candy, or other debris first. Again, if the driver is chewing gum or a mint, it will likely be noted on the police report. 

Gum, mints, candy, pennies, mouthwash, and any other trick will only make a situation worse — they are not even worth trying. If you have been charged with a DWI in Wake or Durham County, contact us at (919) 832-0500 for more information about how we can help you navigate the court system. 

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