Michael A. Ferraro, Esq., P.C.
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Can mouthwash lead to a DWI?

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2022 | DWI defense |

There are some ways in which a person can be accused of drunk driving without actually being intoxicated. For instance, a fatigued driver may make similar mistakes to someone who is drunk, so the police may believe they’re impaired before talking to them.

There are also cases in which the person is given a breath test and they still fail it, even though they claim they’re not impaired. They may say that this has happened because of a foreign substance, such as mouthwash. Is this a valid excuse? Is it actually possible for mouthwash to cause a DUI?

If it contains alcohol

These days, not all types of mouthwash contain alcohol. Nonetheless, it is still very common. This is why it’s important for people to read the list of ingredients on the bottle.

Naturally, using the mouthwash doesn’t put enough alcohol into your system to make you impaired. The problem is that some of it can remain in your mouth. When you are then given a breath test by a police officer, it gets a positive reading from this residual alcohol content in your mouth. Similarly, mouthwash can cause people to fail ignition interlock device tests, despite being sober.

The presence of mouthwash can be problematic because the officer believes that they are checking the level of alcohol. However, the reading could be considerably higher than your actual impairment level because it’s measuring that mouthwash. This could lead to an arrest when you know that you’re sober, even though the testing device says that you’re not.

If something like this does occur, make sure that you are well aware of your legal defense options.