medications that can influence a breathalyzerIf you were pulled over for DWI in Mecklenburg County, the police officer may have asked you to take a breathalyzer test. The purpose of this test is to determine whether your blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit of 0.08 percent and whether there was probable cause to arrest you for DWI. Unfortunately, the test results could have been positive even if you had not consumed alcohol.

Medications That Can Cause False Breathalyzer Test Readings

When you agree to take a breathalyzer test, you are asked to blow into a small hand-held device that registers your BAC. There are a number of reasons that the test results may not be accurate, such as if the machine is not calibrated or the test is not administered properly. Your medications and other substances you ingested can also result in a false positive reading. Here are some medications and substances that can affect your test results:

  • Asthma medications. Albuterol, salmeterol, budesonide, and similar medications under different brand names have been known to affect breathalyzer test results. Once these medicines are inhaled, they remain in a person’s airways longer than other medications.
  • Over-the-counter medications. Nyquil, Vicks products, and other cold medications contain alcohol. These and other alcohol-containing medicines may cause a breathalyzer test to show a false positive result. If you consumed a large number of cough drops before your breathalyzer test, it also could have skewed the test results.
  • Oral gels. Oral gels are used to treat the pain from canker sores and toothaches. However, one of its ingredients is Anbesol, a local anesthetic, which can cause a person to test positive for alcohol consumption.
  • Mouthwashes and breath sprays. Some mouthwashes and breath sprays have a high alcohol content. If they are used before a breathalyzer test is administered, they can affect the test results.

Medical conditions, such as acid reflux and diabetes, and recent dental work, can also lead to a false positive test result.

Have You Been Arrested for a DWI in Charlotte, NC?

If you are facing DWI charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charlotte office directly at 980.207.3355 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Howard W. Long, II
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Charlotte Criminal Defense and DWI Lawyer
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