11 Common Montana DUI Myths Debunked

You may have heard that you can avoid a DUI with a few simple tricks, but do any of them actually work? Here are some of the most common DUI myths in Montana.


Portable Breath Tester Myths

A portable breath tester (PBT) is one of the most common forms of DUI testing used in Montana, but there are many misconceptions about what these devices can and can’t do. In fact, some people believe they can “beat” a PBT with these five tricks.

  • Penny In Your Mouth: Rumor has it that sucking on a penny while taking a breath test will cause the device to show an error or be inaccurate. This is not true. Placing a penny or any other copper item in your mouth during a breathalyzer test will have no effect whatsoever on results.
  • Eat Honey: A breathalyzer does not register sugar, so eating honey will not change the results of a breathalyzer test.
  • Smoke A Cigarette: Smoking does not affect breathalyzer results. These devices are sensitive enough that they won’t be thrown off by someone who smokes.
  • Use Breath Mints: A breath mint may cover up the smell of alcohol, but it cannot change a PBT result.
  • Drink Mouthwash: Most mouthwash contains alcohol, so rinsing your mouth a few seconds before a test could actually inflate your BAC readings.

So, is there any way to beat a PBT? Not really. However, breathalyzers have to be calibrated, tested and reading in the proper range in order to deliver accurate results. Make sure you understand the rules and regulations police must follow when making a DUI arrest.


Non-Breathalyzer DUI Myths

Beyond breath-related tests, there are a few other common misconceptions about how to get out of a DUI.

  • Remove Keys From the Ignition. In Montana, you can be charged with driving under the influence even if you aren’t actually driving the car. If you maintain the ability to grab your keys and start driving, you can be convicted of a DUI. That means you should avoid sleeping in your car while you’re drunk if your keys are anywhere near you.
  • Pass Your Roadside Sobriety Tests. The three DUI roadside tests (horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn, and the one-leg stand) are not pass/fail tests. Rather, an officer will review your overall performance of all three tests, look for cues of intoxication, and then make an informed decision from there.
  • A BAC Below .08. In Montana, you can be arrested for a DUI even if you give a breath test and your BAC is .04 or above. Alcohol affects everyone in a different way, which means that some people can be below the .08 threshold but still be considered intoxicated or under the influence.
  • Cooperate With The Officer. Officers appreciate it when you’re cordial, but they will hold you to the law just like everyone else. There is no preferential treatment given for cooperating with an officer when it comes to DUIs.
  • No Prior DUIs. Having no prior DUI history is great, but a prosecutor or judge is not going to care that you have an otherwise clean record. There is no special treatment given to first-time offenders.


Ankle Bracelet Hack Myths

Someone who is on probation or awaiting trial may be equipped with an ankle monitor, or what is commonly referred to as a SCRAM bracelet. This is strapped to your ankle in order to detect alcohol. Some people believe they can beat this alcohol sensor with a few tricks. Can they?

  • Wedge Paper Between Your Skin And The Bracelet. Wedging a piece of paper or other material between your skin and the SCRAM in order to trick the bracelet does not work. Losing contact with your skin will set the monitor off.
  • Submerging The Bracelet In Water. SCRAM bracelets can resist some measure of water, but complete submersion will set the monitor off. This tactic for tricking the ankle bracelet is a myth.


Contact The Judnich Law Office To Learn More

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If you’re arrested for a DUI or have questions about DUI myths, call the Judnich Law Office at (406) 721-3354.

We’re experts on Montana DUI laws and can help you. So give us a call or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

Penny photo attribution: Photo via Visual Hunt