Archive for February, 2009

Hall of Famer and 11-time NBA All-Star Charles Barkley will pay a fine and serve ten days in jail after pleading guilty to driving while impaired. The sentence will be reduced to five days if he completes a class in alcohol counseling.

Scottsdale, Arizona police stopped Barkley on December 31, 2008 because he ran a stop sign. The police report supposedly indicated that he was in a hurry to have oral sex. Barkley’s subsequent refusal to take a Breathalyzer and performance during the field sobriety check provided sufficient cause for arrest. Police found a handgun in his impounded vehicle. Barkley voluntarily submitted to a blood alcohol test and was formally charged with driving while impaired.

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Q: Is it possible to beat a Breathalyzer by sucking on a penny?

A: No, State Patrol trooper Keith Trowbridge said.

Other techniques to bust the Breathalyzer, such as sucking a battery and eating loads of protein, also are urban legends, authorities say.

Created in 1954, Breathalyzers estimate blood-alcohol content by measuring the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath.

A common version of the penny rumor works on the premise that the copper mixes with alcohol in the drunken drivers’ mouth and causes the Breathalyzer to malfunction, showing a ridiculously high reading.

Here’s the catch: Since 1982, United States pennies have been made with a zinc core. Only the plating – 2.5 percent of the penny – is copper.

Previously, pennies were made primarily with copper. But Trowbridge said the trick still doesn’t work with the old coins.

Before giving a drunken driver a Breathalyzer, troopers check the mouth to make sure there’s nothing that could skew the results. “Then,” Trowbridge said, “we start a 15- minute observation before administering the test.”

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