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Can anything other than drinking affect a breath test?

So often we hear the complaint that after a breath test an individual is shocked they blew over the legal limit with only ‘one drink’ in them. Individuals charged with driving while intoxicated after consuming only a glass of wine with dinner or a beer with buddies often wonder how just one drink sealed their fate.

As it turns out there are a number of things, other than drinking, that are believed can affect your breath test. Certain medications may alter the results of a Breathalyzer. Some cold medications including NyQuil may have sufficient alcohol content to produce an over-the-limit breath test reading. There is even a question about the effect of albuterol inhalers on breath tests. Unlike alcohol containing cold medicine, albuterol inhalers are believed to have some of the same properties as those identified during a breath test. These properties may be able to produce a false positive result. There are even some studies that show a link between oral pain relievers, like the ones used to treat cold sores and toothaches, to higher breath alcohol results.

It is important to remember that although the relationship between medications and breath-alcohol results may exist, there is not significant evidence to support this theory 100 percent. As always, a good offense is the best defense. If you are stopped for suspicion of driving under the influence and may fail a breath test, it may be in your best interest to refuse it. Instead of taking a test that may come up positive for a number of hard-to-argue reasons, a refusal may be a safer bet. It just may be easier for an attorney to argue against a refusal charge than a DUI charge with an inaccurate number looming in the shadows.



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