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Can you be charged for DUI without having consumed alcohol?

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2020 | Criminal Law |

Do you think it would be obvious to a New York police officer that you are sober if he or she pulls you over in a traffic stop? Would you think that you could ever face DUI charges after not having had any alcohol? It doesn’t sound plausible, but it has happened many times.

If you’re driving along a New York roadway and a police officer flashes patrol lights to pull you over, there is no way to predict how events will unfold from there. If the officer asks you to step out of your vehicle, you should be concerned that he or she suspects you of drunk driving. There are numerous products and health issues that may cause you to test positive for alcohol on your breath even if you did not consume alcohol.

One of these issues might register a false positive on a breath test

There is typically a lot going on during a traffic stop, especially if the officer in question thinks you have been illegally operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. All the while that the officer is speaking to you, he or she is closely observing your reactions, your words and your behavior to determine if there is probable cause to take you into custody. The following list explains various issues that may land you in handcuffs after failing a preliminary alcohol breath test:

  • Are you hypoglycemic? If your blood sugar happens to be low when a New York police officer is testing your breath for alcohol, the device might register positive due to increased levels of acetone on your breath, which a breath test device might read as a positive for alcohol.
  • Hypoglycemia can produce other symptoms that make a police officer think you’re drunk as well. This condition may cause you to shake, become dizzy or slur your words when you try to speak, which may appear similar to intoxication.
  • Drinking diet soda can also increase the acetone levels in your body. You don’t necessarily have to add alcohol to your soda for it to register positive for alcohol on a breath test.

Your first instinct might be to argue with a police officer who is placing you under arrest for drunk driving when you know you did not have any alcohol in your system. It is typically best to cooperate, not argue. However, it is helpful if you know your rights and what steps to take to protect them.

For instance, you are not legally obligated to take a field sobriety test. If you believe a New York police officer has violated your rights or you have been arrested for something you did not do, it is best to remain calm. You also have a right to request legal representation, especially if you do not feel equipped to handle the situation on your own.