Criminal Defense Attorney Columbia, South Carolina

What Foods Can Cause A False Positive BAC Test?

Police officer holding device for checking alcohol intoxication while standing near a stopped car with woman driver

A DUI defense attorney can help defend against false positive results in South Carolina.

Police departments across South Carolina use breathalyzers to test whether someone is too intoxicated to drive - even though the tests are unreliable.

There are many things that can lead a breathalyzer to produce a false positive result - a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. But did you know that food is one of the most common triggers for a false positive?

The following are just some foods that, if eaten soon before a breathalyzer is administered, could produce false positive results and give police a reason to file DUI charges. We'll also tell you how to reduce the risk of food triggering a drunk driving arrest.

If you have already been charged with a South Carolina DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs), contact Matt Bodman, P.A., for a free case consultation. At no cost to you, a member of our team can listen to the details of your case, explain how the law applies to your situation, and help you decide what to do next. Our law firm is based in Columbia, SC. We represent clients in the Midlands and throughout South Columbia.

How does food affect breathalyzer tests?

There are various ways that food can result in falsely positive BAC test results:

  • Fermentation. 15-20 minutes after eating, food that has undergone fermentation and is still in your mouth may emit ethanol.
  • Diet. Some people experience false positive results from more than one food. It is their whole diet. People who follow high-protein, low-carb diets are particularly likely to have falsely positive BAC test results.
  • Indigestion. Indigestion-inducing foods can make you burp, which may release ethanol fumes from your troubled stomach.

The foods that are most prone to ferment are those that are strong in protein and sugar or that also contain yeast or alcohol. Various foods can induce indigestion and belching, but hot sauce and other spicy foods, dairy, legumes, and other whole-grain foods are among the typical culprits.

Foods that can trigger a false positive

The following foods may result in a false positive BAC test result for a sober driver:

  • Sweets and sugary foods. Pastries, honeybuns, croissants, raised donuts.
  • Bread. Sandwiches, pizza, yeast rolls, challah.
  • Fresh fruit and some juices.
  • Vinaigrette made with white or red wine.
  • Energy drinks.

Wait at least 20 minutes after eating before taking a BAC test, or rinse your mouth with water before driving, to prevent a false positive brought on by food. Simply avoid using mouthwash for this. Alcohol is typically found in mouthwash. Therefore, the mouthwash alcohol may stay in your mouth even if you don't swallow it, which could result in a false positive test result. In a similar vein, alcohol is frequently found in breath fresheners.

Get experienced, strategic DUI defense.

You may be aware that you were sober and that the test was inaccurate, but you cannot rely on this knowledge to avoid a South Carolina DUI conviction. That is only possible with a lot of evidence and an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney.

Having a skilled, relentless lawyer fighting on your side can make all the difference in the world.

Attorney Bodman has a proven track record of successfully assisting clients accused of drunk driving in having their charges dropped or the severity of their penalties significantly reduced. Discover for yourself what assistance attorney Bodman may provide to you. Contact us to schedule your free case evaluation today.

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