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Debunking OVI / DUI Myths

Everyone knows someone who seems to know how to beat a breathalyzer or who heard a story about a guy who got cited for OVI/DUI because he had used mouthwash prior to taking the test. For every one of these myths that has a grain of truth, there are five that are completely bogus. These are a few.

MYTH #1: Placing pennies under your tongue will allow you to pass a breathalyzer test.

FACT: A breathalyzer measures the chemical reaction between the amount of alcohol expelled on the breath and the contents of a vial in a breathalyzer machine. Despite your friend's claims to the contrary, pennies will do nothing to affect this chemical reaction. Putting pennies under your tongue in order to beat a breathalyzer will do nothing but leave a bad taste in your mouth.

MYTH #2: Using mouthwash immediately prior to taking a breathalyzer test will actually increase your B.A.C. reading.

FACT: Because most mouthwashes contain significant amount of alcohol (up to 27%), using them prior to taking a breathalyzer test will actually raise your B.A.C. reading by increasing your amount of "mouth alcohol." In analyzing a subject's breath sample, a breathalyzer's internal computer assumes that the alcohol in the breath sample came from alveolar air exhaled from deep within the lungs. However, alcohol may also come from the mouth, throat or stomach for a number of reasons. Mouth alcohol can affect a breathalyzer reading for more than twenty minutes after ingestion.

MYTH #3: An average sized person can consume up to five drinks in an hour and not exceed the B.A.C. threshold in Ohio .

FACT: A person's B.A.C. will increase in their system for several hours after they have stopped drinking, even while their level of impairment declines. As little as three drinks in one hour can be enough to cause someone to fail a breathalyzer test for an extended period of time after they have stopped drinking. There are independent factors that cause on person's B.A.C. to be higher than another such as weight, height, age, and how recently they've eaten.

MYTH #4: It is always better to refuse to take a breathalyzer test because you won't get an OVI/DUI.

FACT: Ohio law mandates an automatic one-year license suspension for a refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test. However, sometimes it can be to your advantage to refuse to submit to the breathalyzer, but that decision must be made based on the individual's current situation and driving history. The best way to determine what to do under these circumstances is to consult with an attorney now who can provide you with the tools you need to make an informed decision. If you are not able to speak directly to an attorney, remember that it is probably in your best interest to err on the side of caution and refuse the breathalyzer if you have consumed more than one alcoholic beverage an hour.

MYTH #5: One attorney is just as good as another to defend an OVI/DUI charge.

FACT: Most people, and many attorneys as well, believe that defending charges of drunk-driving is a relatively straight-forward task that can be performed by just about any competent attorney. However, an individual charged with OVI/DUI must take precautions to hire an attorney with experience dealing with these types of allegations. The penalties for OVI/DUI, such as license suspension, fines, community service, probation, mandatory counseling or alcohol treatment, and possible incarceration (even for first offenders), are not only serious but affect the lives of the convicted for years to come. An attorney who has experience dealing with theses types of offenses will appreciate the gravity of the charges and be able to use his expertise to obtain a favorable result.

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