Do you think it is possible that, without ever having a drop of alcoholic beverage, you could still face drunk driving charges if a Minnesota police officer pulls you over and arrests you after you fail a breath screening? If you answered “Yes,” you are correct. The reason it’s possible is that there are many substances that cause preliminary alcohol breath screening devices to register positive results even if, in fact, you did not consume alcohol before driving.
It’s easy to understand how stressful this situation would be. Can you imagine knowing you didn’t drink alcohol while the officer is telling you the breath test you just took suggests otherwise? You don’t want to argue with a police officer because that will just make matters worse. You also definitely do not want to go to jail for something you didn’t do. That’s why it pays to know ahead of time what types of substances can taint the results of a roadside breath test.
Substances that prompt false positive results
Do you use mouthwash? If so, you’d better be careful about driving shortly afterward. One of the main ingredients in many mouthwashes on the market today just so happens to be alcohol. You might think it’s harmless to gargle a little before your hot date night. What you may not realize is that, if a cop pulls you over and tests your breath, that ever-so-fresh breath of yours might land you behind bars.
Other substances that can cause a preliminary breath screening device to detect alcohol even if you haven’t consumed any alcoholic beverages are cigarette fumes and hair spray. Certain health conditions, as well, can cause false positive test results. For instance, if you have a diabetic condition and you are passing ketones, the breath test device might register it as alcohol.
Medications can spark legal problems, too
Mouthwash isn’t the only thing sold over the counter that contains alcohol. Many cold and cough medicines do as well. Even some pills you take orally can have alcohol in them.
A DUI arrest can have lasting repercussions
Merely facing DUI charges in Minnesota, even if the court finds you not guilty, can have negative consequences in your personal and professional life. Your reputation might be at stake. If you happen to be someone who struggles with substance abuse problems, an arrest might intensify the trouble you’re already having in your marriage or home life. There are support networks nearby to help those who have a strong desire to beat addiction.
Licensed counselors, close friends and family members, AA programs and experienced legal advocates are also great assets for those who encounter life or legal challenges connected to a drunk driving arrest.