It's one of those stories that sounds like the script of a tasteless sitcom. Back in February, German police apprehended a man suspected of drunk driving who fled a traffic stop and tried to hide in some nearby hedges. According to news reports, it wasn't the smell of alcohol that gave him away—it was the “cloud of perfume” he was sitting in, trying desperately to mask the smell of booze.
We sometimes find stories like these to be darkly amusing mainly because we can tell what was going through the man's mind and why the “trick” didn't work. But the truth is these antics are quite common, and the truth is they almost never work to conceal the fact that someone has had too much to drink. Let's discuss a couple of other common failed tactics for covering up suspected DWI, and why they're bad ideas.
Attempting to Mask the Alcohol Smell
Sitting in perfume is just one method of trying to mask the smell of booze; there are many others. Some of the more common tactics include chewing gum, eating spicy or garlicky foods, using mouthwash or breath strips, etc.
Why it doesn't work: First, police officers are trained to see through these techniques, and they will be suspicious of any overpowering smell during a traffic stop because they will assume it's an attempt to cover the smell of alcohol. Second, it isn't really effective in masking the smell. Chewing a piece of mint gum when you're intoxicated simply makes you smell like alcohol and mint. And third, masking the smell won't mask your performance behind the wheel, which is probably why you got pulled over to begin with.
Attempting to “Sober Up” Quickly
Another common tactic, one mainly used to cover up drinking before getting behind the wheel, is the attempt to “sober up” before driving. Common techniques include drinking lots of coffee, eating a meal, drinking water, taking a cold shower, and even working out to try and “sweat” the alcohol out of your system.
Why it doesn't work: None of these techniques—none of them—actually reduces the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. Coffee may make you more alert, but not less impaired. Eating food might slow down the rate at which alcohol enters your bloodstream while you're drinking, but it does nothing to help you once the alcohol makes it into your blood. Furthermore, none of these techniques will make you perform better behind the wheel, nor will they help you pass a sobriety test. Your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is your BAC level, no matter how much water or coffee you drink. Only time will allow your body to metabolize the alcohol out of your bloodstream.
These bad coverups all share a common thread—they're failed efforts to bypass or “cheat” the natural effect alcohol has on the human body. There are no proven ways to cover the evidence of alcohol, and there are no shortcuts to sobering up. The only thing that actually reduces the amount of alcohol in the blood is time. If not enough time passes between when you drink and when you drive, you're risking a DWI arrest. It's that simple.
If you've been arrested for DWI, you need an experienced Board Certified DWI attorney who can represent your interests, ascertain the facts of your case and fight to get you the best possible outcome. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.