Young Marr remains dedicated to our clients during this COVID-19 quarantine. We understand that legal needs of our clients must go on during this time. In order to minimize disruption as much as possible, we are offering free consultations via phone and/or video and can have our clients submit documents virtually.

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 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 criminal defense lawyers today — we have 24-hour availability.



icon car - Criminal Defense

Learn what to do if you have been stopped for DUI/DWI.

icon car - Criminal Defense

If this is your first DUI offense, you may be eligible for ARD.



Commonwealth v. "H" (DUI case)

Client was charged with three separate DUI cases calling for mandatory minimum imprisonment of 90 days on each case. Client was advised to seek immediate intensive alcohol counseling. Client was sentenced to 1 year of house arrest after serving 3 days in the county prison.


Commonwealth v. "C" (Felony drug/Firearms case)

Client was charged with felony Delivery of drugs and illegal gun possession and was facing a mandatory 3-6 year prison sentence in the State prison system. Client was sentenced to one year of house arrest.


Commonwealth v. "S"

Client was charged with simple assault, domestic. After a hearing where evidence and testimony was presented, the entire case was dismissed by Judge Leonard Brown.


State of New Jersey v. "H"

Charges for young man charged with second degree aggravated assault were downgraded to third degree and he was accepted into the County Pretrial Intervention program with charges to be dismissed and record expunged after one year of misconduct free behavior.


We have decades of experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors, and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Anyone facing charges involving a criminal offense can expect to experience a heightened degree of emotional turmoil, for themselves, as well as their family members. Our team of highly qualified criminal law attorneys and expert legal support staff are committed to providing each of our client’s with the compassion and understanding they deserve, as well as an aggressive plan for representation at an affordable price.

As former prosecutors, we have a balanced and in-depth understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution prepares cases. In addition, we have long-standing experience dealing with local police departments, prosecutors and judges throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

At Young, Marr and Associates, when we say “experience matters,” we mean it. Our lawyers, which include two former prosecutors and a former senior deputy district attorney bring more than three decades of criminal law experience, handling more than 10,000 criminal cases. It is precisely that experience that allows us to achieve outstanding results for our clients facing DUI, traffic, felony and misdemeanor charges in state, federal and juvenile courts.