There’s no doubt about it – getting pulled over for suspected driving under the influence is a stressful experience. It can be even more alarming if you’re confident that you haven’t been drinking and yet still fail a DUI test. Unfortunately, a false positive Breathalyzer test is not uncommon in DUI cases, and there are several reasons why this can happen.
In this article, we will detail the most common reasons why this happens and what you can do to protect yourself from wrongful conviction. Your best choice is enlisting the help of an experienced Asheville DUI lawyer.
North Carolina DUI Laws
North Carolina DUI laws are strict, and the consequences of a conviction can be severe. In North Carolina, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. For commercial drivers, the legal limit is even lower at .04 percent.
If you’re under 21 years old, you can be charged with DUI if your BAC is .01 percent or higher. It’s also important to note that North Carolina has an implied consent law which means that as soon as you get behind the wheel of a car in this state, you have given your consent to submit to chemical testing if suspected of drunk driving.
If you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test when requested by law enforcement officials, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for one year on top of any other penalties associated with a DUI conviction.
Mouthwash and Mints May Contain Alcohol
Many people are shocked to discover that their use of mouthwash or mints could potentially cause a false positive Breathalyzer test. However, it’s important to note that many popular brands contain alcohol as one of their ingredients.
Mouthwash is designed to kill bacteria and give you a fresh breath, but the inclusion of alcohol can lead to elevated blood alcohol content (BAC) levels when using a Breathalyzer. Even though the amount of alcohol present in most mouthwashes is relatively small, it can still trigger a false positive result on a breath test.
Similarly, some types of mints also contain low levels of alcohol. While these levels may be too small to have any real intoxicating effect on an individual, they can still be enough to produce inaccurate readings on a Breathalyzer machine.
It’s worth noting that not all types of mouthwash or mints will cause this issue – it really depends on the specific brand and formula. Some products might include artificial sweeteners instead of sugar alcohols or actual ethanol.
Certain Medications Can Result in a False Positive Breathalyzer Test
Certain medications can result in a false positive breathalyzer test. This is because some medicines contain alcohol, and as such, they can trigger an elevated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reading. Some of the common drugs that may produce a false positive breathalyzer test include cough syrups, mouthwash containing alcohol, and even mints.
Many prescription medications can also produce similar results. Multiple studies have shown that certain antidepressants, pain relievers like opioids or benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety disorders, sleep aids like Ambien or Lunesta and muscle relaxers can all lead to higher BAC levels than what’s actually present in the bloodstream.
It’s important to note that individuals who are taking these types of medications should always inform law enforcement officials during a DUI stop. Failure to do so could result in an arrest for driving under the influence when you were not actually impaired at all.
If you suspect any medication you’re currently taking might interfere with your breathalyzer tests’ accuracy; it is essential to seek advice from your doctor before operating any vehicle or heavy machinery while under its influence.
Police Officers Sometimes Use Poorly Calibrated Devices
When it comes to administering breathalyzer tests, the accuracy of the device is crucial. Unfortunately, there have been instances where police officers use poorly calibrated devices when conducting DUI investigations.
A breathalyzer test measures the concentration of alcohol in a person’s breath and converts that measurement into an estimate of blood alcohol content (BAC). However, if the device is not properly calibrated or maintained, it can produce inaccurate results.
In some cases, officers may not be aware that their device is faulty or they may overlook regular maintenance checks. Additionally, improper training on how to operate and maintain these devices could also lead to errors in readings.
It’s important for individuals who are facing DUI charges based on breathalyzer results to question the accuracy of the device used by law enforcement. An experienced Asheville DUI lawyer can investigate whether a poorly calibrated device was used in your case and work towards getting your charges dismissed or reduced.
Cough and Topical Pain Relieving Medications Can Trigger a False Positive
Cough and topical pain relieving medications can potentially trigger a false positive on a Breathalyzer test. This is because these types of medication often contain small amounts of alcohol, which can be detected by the device.
It’s important to note that not all cough and pain relieving medications will result in a false positive. However, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and avoid using them before getting behind the wheel.
If you are taking any type of medication, whether it’s for a cold or chronic pain, it’s crucial that you inform your doctor if you plan on driving after taking it. They may be able to prescribe an alternative medication that does not contain alcohol.
Additionally, if you are pulled over and suspected of DUI after taking one of these medications, make sure to inform the officer immediately. They may ask for proof such as a prescription bottle or documentation from your doctor.
While cough and topical pain relieving medications may seem harmless, they can have serious consequences when combined with driving under the influence. It’s always best to prioritize safety above convenience when getting behind the wheel.
Poorly Controlled Diabetes Can Result in a False Positive Breathalyzer Test
People who suffer from diabetes and do not control it properly with medication may suffer from acetone buildup in their system. This substance is easily detected by a Breathalyzer test.
If you suffer from diabetes and suspect this may be the issue, make sure that you inform the police officer administering the test of this fact.
They must include your statement in the arrest report and your Asheville DUI lawyer will use it, together with evidence from expert witnesses in the healthcare field to get your charges dismissed.
Poorly Controlled Diabetes Can Result in a False Positive Breathalyzer Test
Getting a false positive Breathalyzer test is a shocking experience for anyone. You know that you did not drink before driving, yet the device says you did. In this case, it is important to remain calm and consider whether the medication or personal care products you are using may be the culprit.
By understanding what can cause a false positive Breathalyzer test and taking steps to minimize your risk of being falsely accused of drunk driving, you can protect your rights and ensure fair treatment.
But, most of all, you need professional legal representation for fighting these charges. An experienced Asheville DUI lawyer will help you set matters straight and prove that you were not breaking the law when you got behind the wheel.
Call us to schedule a free case evaluation as soon as possible after being charged with DUI: 828-702-8743!