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What Foods Can Give You a False Positive on a Breathalyzer Test?

Driver being subjected to a breathalyzer test by police for suspicion of DWI.

When you're pulled over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), police will often administer a breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) level.

But did you know that certain foods and household items can actually give you a false positive on a breathalyzer test?

In Texas, the legal BAC limit is 0.08%, and if a driver's breathalyzer test shows a BAC above that limit, they can be charged with DWI.

If you have been charged with a DWI in Montgomery County, TX, it's important to take it seriously and contact an experienced DWI attorney to learn more about your potential legal options.

Types of foods that can cause a false positive

Alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, and liquor, will be detected by a breathalyzer. However, there are other foods that contain chemicals that may also be detected by a breathalyzer. For example, many fruits, including cherries, apples, and peaches, can become fermented as they ripen and contain small amounts of alcohol.

Other foods, drinks, and household items that may cause a false positive on a breathalyzer include:

  • Mouthwash: Many types of mouthwash contain high percentages of alcohol, which can register as false positives on breathalyzer tests.
  • Breath Spray: Like mouthwash, many breath freshener sprays contain high amounts of alcohol that can lead to positive readings on breathalyzer devices.
  • Spicy Foods: When consumed, spicy foods can create methane gas in the stomach, which can be mistaken for alcohol by breathalyzer devices.
  • Yeast-Containing Foods: Bread, pastry, pizza, and other baked goods can register positive readings on breathalyzers if yeast-containing food particles are present in the mouth when the test is administered.
  • Fruit Drinks and Other Non-Alcoholic Beverages: Some fermented beverages, such as fruit drinks, kombucha, and energy drinks, can produce minimal amounts of alcohol that can register on breathalyzers.
  • Vinegar: Some types of vinegar, made from wine, contain trace amounts of alcohol that can lead to false positives on breathalyzer tests.
  • Vanilla Extract: According to FDA standards, pure vanilla extract must contain 35% alcohol, which may not cause impairment, but can lead to a positive reading on a breathalyzer test.
  • Low-Carbohydrate Diets: People on low-carb diets may enter a state of ketosis, a process in which the body burns fat for energy. This can create acetone, which can lead to false positives on breathalyzer tests.

It is important to note that these items do not contain enough alcohol to cause impairment, but they can lead to a false positive on a breathalyzer test. In addition to the above, certain types of cough syrups contain high levels of ethyl alcohol. This type of alcohol is not metabolized as quickly as other types of alcohol and can take longer to leave your system. Therefore, it can cause a false positive on a breathalyzer.

Contact Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer,  if you were charged in Montgomery County, TX.

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in Texas with potentially serious repercussions. A DWI conviction can lead to jail time, significant fines, probation, community service, the installation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle (that you have to pay for), and other penalties. In addition, depending on the severity of the crime and any prior convictions, a judge may also order suspension or revocation of your driver's license.

The effects of a DWI conviction can also be long-lasting, making it difficult to find a job or housing. Insurance companies may also increase your rates or cancel your policy altogether due to a DWI conviction, and you could be ineligible for certain jobs or educational opportunities because of your conviction.

If you have been charged with a DWI in Montgomery County, Texas, it's important to seek experienced legal advice. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact us for a free consultation.