Dedicated Criminal Defense for Fairfax County and Virginia Statewide
Photo Of Bill R. Hicks

What you ingest may impact a breath test

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2022 | DUI |

When an officer conducts a traffic stop, he or she is constantly looking for signs of intoxication. If the officer requests a breath test and roadside testing, the driver will likely consent, especially if he or she is confident the results turn out negative. But, even without the consumption of alcohol, a breath test may register a false positive.

It is crucial to remember that breath tests may come back indicating the presence of alcohol for a few innocent reasons. Take a further look at some of the things a driver may ingest that have the potential to give a positive reading and wind up charged with a DUI under Virginia law.

Are medications to blame?

Some medications may register on a breath test. The most common are those used to treat asthma, such as inhalers. Direct delivery of medication via air to the mouth may leave particles that contain elements picked up by a breath test. Cough medicine and liquids containing alcohol as an ingredient may also register if taken close to a breath test.

Can food cause a false positive?

Anything a person ingests can cause the body to release chemicals that register on a test but do not smell or taste like alcohol. Someone with diabetes may burn fat instead of sugar for energy, which results in a release of ketones into the bloodstream. Ketones contain a certain amount of alcohol compounds, thus registering a BAC. Gastro reflux may also result in a positive on a bread test.

Mouthwashes, breath mints may also register on a breath test, even when a driver does not have alcohol in his or her system. These are some factors a judge may consider when deciding whether a driver’s guilt or innocence in a DUI case.