A drunk driving conviction could have a significant impact on your life. In addition to possible jail time and fines, you could lose your driving privileges and face other penalties. But what if you’ve been accused of drunk driving and didn’t do anything wrong? Like all machines, breathalyzers aren’t 100 percent accurate. A false positive could have devastating consequences for your future.
If you’ve been accused of drunk driving, you need help from a Virginia Beach criminal defense lawyer right away. We have a deep understanding of Virginia’s drunk driving laws, so we know how to demonstrate that a breathalyzer test result may have been faulty. With so much at stake, don’t risk the consequences of not hiring an attorney. Get more information on the legal services available at Invictus Law by visiting our contact page or calling our Virginia Beach office.
Medications that May Affect Breathalyzer Tests
Breathalyzers test for the presence of methyl group chemicals, which are compounds similar to the ethanol alcohol found in beer, wine, and liquor. These chemicals generally correlate with someone’s consumption of alcoholic beverages. However, certain methyl group compounds similar to ethanol can show up on a breathalyzer test even if you haven’t been drinking. These compounds can be found in several medications. Those medications include:
- Asthma medications– The medication found in asthma inhalers tends to linger in the lungs, and these medicines often contain trace amounts of methyl compounds. Albuterol, budesonide, salmeterol, and other medications with different brand names can cause a false positive breathalyzer test.
- Over-the-counter cold medicines– Certain Vicks products, NyQuil, and other cold and cough medications contain minimal amounts of alcohol, which can skew a breathalyzer test. If you took several cough drops in the hours before a breathalyzer test, that could also skew the result.
- Oral gels– These medications are commonly used to treat canker sores and toothaches. Some gels contain Anbesol, an anesthetic that can affect the result of breathalyzer tests.
- Mouthwash and breath spray– Certain types of oral hygiene products contain alcohol, which can affect the result of a breath test. If you used these products just prior to a breathalyzer test, it’s more likely that the test result will be compromised.
Other Factors that Could Cause a False Positive Result
Medications aren’t the only things that can lead to a false-positive result from a breathalyzer. Other factors that can influence breathalyzer tests include:
- Paint fumes- Lingering fumes from working around paint in a poorly ventilated area can impact a breath since paint fumes can contain trace amounts of methyl compounds.
- Ketones- When a person with diabetes has high blood sugar, their body sometimes burns fat for fuel instead of glucose, increasing the ketones in their blood. In turn, these ketones can cause a build-up of acetone in the breath, leading to a false-positive result on a breathalyzer test.
- Acid reflux- If you suffer from acid reflux, the churning in your stomach can cause trace amounts of alcohol you’ve consumed earlier in the day to rise to your esophagus. This could cause a false positive even if it’s been several hours since your last drink.
How a Virginia Criminal Defense Lawyer Could Help
Breathalyzer tests can be unreliable. If you suspect that’s affected your DUI charge, getting help from a Virginia DUI defense lawyer is essential. We want to help you avoid the consequences of a wrongful DUI conviction. We can examine the machine used to conduct the test and supply other evidence, such as your medical records, to show how the false-positive test occurred. Don’t try to defend yourself with so much at stake. Get help from a legal professional.
It’s important to act quickly if you’re accused of DUI to avoid jail and other penalties. Get a free initial consultation by calling our Virginia Beach office or visiting our contact page.