Some foods can set off a breathalyzer. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) states that “The type of food may affect the absorption rate, but the amount of food is the most significant factor.” The alcohol content in some foods is not enough to impair your judgment or to make you drunk (only to put just enough alcohol on your breath for you to receive a false reading).
Non-alcoholic beverages can also produce false results. This is because they contain small traces of alcohol. For example, mouthwashes and medicines like asthma medication, oral gels, over the counter medications, and breath sprays may have alcoholic ingredients that could procure an inaccurate reading.
Another reason why certain foods can set off a breathalyzer is because of fermentation. Some sugary foods can turn into alcohol. For instance, fruit that has undergone the fermentation process can easily set off the breathalyzer.
Additionally, the yeast used in bread and cakes contains a residual amount of alcohol. It is impossible to remove the alcohol in the baking process. Therefore eating cakes and bread can set off the breathalyzer by a small percentage.
Keeping Track of Foods You Consume
It is important for you to keep track of what you are eating to prevent setting off a breathalyzer. It is especially crucial for people with previous DWI charges because a simple mistake can result in a subsequent arrest and jail time.
The National Conference of State Legislatures states that it is required that subsequent DWI offenders install ignition interlock devices on all of the motor vehicles they own for the period of license suspension they must undergo. You can get arrested if the device goes off, and that could mean an extended license suspension period.
Other Reasons a Breathalyzer Result Could Go Wrong
Foods can set off a breathalyzer test, but so can other things, like:
- The waiting period
- Using certain medications
- Using certain products
- Work environment
- Health conditions
Regarding the waiting period, police should wait for a few minutes before conducting the test for a second time after the initial test. The Texas Breath Alcohol Program Operator Manual mandates that an officer conducting a DWI charge to wait at least 15 minutes after the first failed test. After that, the police can test again to verify BAC. The purpose of the waiting period is to ensure that there is no residual alcohol present in a driver’s mouth.
External Factors Can Cause a Failed Breathalyzer
Just because you fail a breathalyzer, does not mean that you ingested a substance, food, or drink that affected your BAC. There may be something out of your control that caused the reading.
Health Conditions Can Cause a Failed Breathalyzer
Certain health conditions could also set off a breathalyzer test, like:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Gum disease
- Acid reflux
Many people who have acid reflux have a defective valve that allows alcohol liquids and gases to travel from the stomach and enter the mouth. For that reason, when the police administer the test, they may get a false reading that does not match your true BAC reading.
The working environment of a driver can also cause a breathalyzer test to go wrong. For example, if you work in an environment that exposes you to volatile substances such as paint removers and cleaning fluids, that can affect the BAC readings. Lastly, some personal care products can affect the breath alcohol reading. For example, some facial cleansers and aftershave products contain some alcohol content that may interfere with the correct reading.
Protect Your Opportunity to Challenge the Breathalyzer Results
After getting a DWI stop, ensure you secure every opportunity to challenge the breathalyzer result. You can do the following:
- Obey physical commands such as to step out of your vehicle
- Provide the vehicle registration
- Produce your driver’s license
- Provide your true name, address, and date of birth
- Provide proof of insurance
- Submit to all the field sobriety tests
You are under no obligation to answer self-incriminating questions. If the officer asks whether you are from drinking, you should be honest. Call your lawyer as soon as possible. Remember to mention all the foods and drinks that you took to help him or her prove that you were not driving while intoxicated.
Ask for Legal Help From the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg
A DWI case can threaten your credibility as a driver. You can lose your license for an extended period. However, you can get a DWI charge even when you were not completely impaired. Certain foods can alter the BAC reading resulting in a charge that may harm your good record.
You have a right to retain a lawyer to help explain your case in court. If you are facing DWI charges, contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at (214) 696-9253 for a free consultation. Let us help you prove your case by challenging the accuracy of the breathalyzer test.