The best way to avoid a charge of operating while intoxicated (OWI) is not to drink anything before driving. Yet the law does forbid alcohol altogether, and judging how much you can drink is hard.
The internet will tell you all sorts of tricks to avoid an OWI, but none are any good. What’s more, any amount of alcohol will affect your ability to drive safely, so there’s little to gain by trying to beat the system if you end up dead or injured in a crash. Here are some popularly touted myths:
You need to get your own breath-testing machine
The quality of these can vary drastically, so you should not rely on one to tell you you are safe to drive. If you have to ask the question, it’s better to leave the car keys on the hook. These devices also won’t help if you fail a police test or if they decide to charge you because of how you were driving, regardless of what their breathalyzer says.
You can rinse with mouthwash before driving
This can stop your breath from smelling of alcohol, but it cannot lower the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream, which is what a breathalyzer measures. What’s more, some mouthwash contains alcohol which could potentially make the machine read higher.
You can drink coffee, water or energy drinks
Your body can only process alcohol at a certain rate. While drinking coffee or energy drinks can help you feel more alert and gulping water can help you less dehydrated, they cannot lower your blood alcohol content.
If you ever face OWI charges, several defense options are available, whether you drank something or not.