Most people know that if they are pulled over while driving because they are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, they will probably have a breathalyzer test administered to them. However, it is important to understand what can affect the results of breathalyzer tests. Why? Mainly because if you’re not under the influence of alcohol, but the breathalyzer indicates that you are, you can still be arrested.
With that in mind, take stock of the common items that can affect a breathalyzer test. They include some kinds of cough syrup, mouthwash and breath mints. Taking some of any of those can make a breathalyzer indicate that your blood alcohol content exceeds legally allowable levels for individuals driving a motor vehicle. You might be arrested because of that, even if you haven’t had a single beer and are capable of driving safely.
One group this affects is truck drivers. They often have to drive long distances even if sick, so they’ll take cough medicine. Doing so can raise their blood alcohol content to .02 or even .04. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations define a measurable amount of alcohol as a BAC of more that .01.
Officials report that some drivers have measured higher than that after simply swishing the mouths with mouthwash that contained alcohol. That alcohol can absorbed into an individual’s bloodstream in addition to directly affecting breathalyzer results.
With these details in mind, it is critical to understand the things that can affect breathalyzer results so you can either avoid them while driving or at minimum be able to explain if an officer stops you. If you are charged with a DUI and feel that the breathalyzer test was affected by some legal substance, make sure to document that and communicate about it to your attorney.