If the police stop you because they believe you were driving while intoxicated in Virginia, they will most likely ask you to take a breathalyzer test. If you fail the test, you could be arrested for DUI.

You face harsh punishments if you are convicted of DUI in our state. However, you may have a strong defense that the breathalyzer test results were not accurate if you take certain medications or have a medical condition that can result in a false positive reading.

Medications That Can Result in a False Positive Breathalyzer Result

Driver Taking a Breathalyzer TestA breathalyzer machine is a small hand-held device that registers a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). If their BAC is 0.08 percent or higher, they would most likely be charged with DUI.

However, the results of a breathalyzer test could be inaccurate for a number of reasons, such as if the machine was not properly calibrated or the test was not administered correctly. Another cause of a false-positive result can be medications that are taken before the test is administered. The following can impact breathalyzer test results:

  • Asthma medicines. Some asthma inhalers will inject a concentration of medications that contain up to 34 percent alcohol as well as other substances that could be interpreted as alcohol into the lungs. In addition, these medications remain in a person’s airways longer than other medications, increasing the likelihood of a false-positive result.
  • Over-the-counter medications. Some over-the-counter medications (OTC), such as Nyquil, Vicks products, and other cold medications, contain alcohol and can result in a higher BAC reading.
  • Anbesol and other gels. Anbesol and other topical gels used to relieve toothaches, canker sores, and cold sores can contain up to 70 percent alcohol, which can skew breathalyzer test results.
  • Mouthwashes. Some mouthwashes and sprays also have a high alcohol content and can affect breathalyzer test results in a similar fashion as topical gels.

In addition, certain medical conditions could result in a false-positive test result when a person has not consumed any alcohol. They include:

  • Gastro disorders. If a person suffers with acid reflux or another gastro condition, there could be an acid build-up in the stomach that can create fumes in the stomach and esophagus. This can result in a higher BAC result.
  • Diabetes. Ketones are a natural acid produced in the body. If an individual has diabetes, their ketone level will be higher and could falsely trigger a positive breathalyzer result. This could also occur if they are on a low-carb diet.
  • Dental work. If a person had dental work done on the day that they took a breathalyzer test, this could affect the results because some alcohol-based medications, cleaners, and antiseptics could have been used.

Were you arrested for DUI in Virginia? Our experienced DUI legal team can mount a strong defense strategy to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. To learn how we can help, start a live chat to schedule your free consultation today.


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