Three Everyday Things That May Lead To A DWI Arrest

Posted on: 10 July 2017

Seeing blue lights in your rear-view mirror is enough to make the heart quicken of any seasoned driver. ​While you are prepared to hand over your driver's license and registration, you may not be prepared for the officer to begin asking questions about being under the influence. Unfortunately, even if you have not had anything to drink, you could find yourself being ticketed and/or arrested because there are several everyday items that may cause you to show a false positive on a breathalyzer test and some of these can even show positive on urine or blood screens.

Hand Sanitizer

If you are like many people, you keep hand sanitizer in your vehicle or purse to use as needed throughout the day. Unfortunately, if you or the officer administering the test have just used some on your hands, there is a chance that your breathalyzer could register a false positive. The good news is that it only takes a few minutes for this effect to go away and this does not affect blood and urine tests, but no one wants things to get that far. If you know that you have just cleaned your hands, ask the officer to allow you to fully dry them before participating in the test.

Cold And Sinus Medications

Over the counter cold and sinus medications can make you sleepy and sluggish. Because of this, some of them are even labeled to warn you not to drive a vehicle while you are under their influence. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous and often presents the same signs that officers look for when screening for intoxicated drivers. Over the counter medications cause you to do the following:

  • Swerving between lanes
  • Disregarding speed limit
  • Delayed stops and starts
  • Disobeying traffic signals and more

If you are stopped, the ingredients in your cold medication could show that you are under the influence and technically you are.

Many over the counter drugs contain pseudoephedrine, which is a synthetic amphetamine. This can cause a positive reading on blood and urine tests. Other cold medicines contain a high percentage of alcohol which can show up as a positive on your breathalyzer. To avoid any potential run-ins with the law, if you are taking over the counter medications that have you feeling less than your best, you may want to make sure you have a designated driver. This may seem unnecessary, but medicines really can impair your driving.


Even a headache you had earlier in the day may put you at risk of a positive drug screen. This is especially true if you have taken ibuprofen for pain relief. You could possibly be facing a false positive for marijuana, barbiturates, or benzodiazepines. If you combine this with naproxen, which is commonly used as an anti-inflammatory, you may definitely be the recipient of a positive drug screen. There is no real way around this one except to explain to the officer what you have taken that day. If you do not have a positive breathalyzer, or refused to take one, hopefully it will not come to you having to give blood and urine.

If you have experienced a DWI arrest and have been charged with driving under the influence, the most important thing that you need to do is to hire a DWI defense attorney. They know the laws of your state and have a personal relationship with the other professionals that are involved in your case. They will understand the things that can cause a false positive test and will have the skills, knowledge, and ability to challenge your charges once you get to court.


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