We all know that soft drinks can negatively impact health, but did you know that they can negatively impact a breathalyzer test reading?
When you have been arrested and charged with DUI, every .01% of a breathalyzer reading counts. In 2009, the South Carolina General Assembly amended the DUI law by assigning punishment levels to breath test readings. Any factor that could affect a breath test result reading must be considered when defending a DUI case.
The Newcastle Herald reported that Australian research reveals an interesting consideration as to the interaction of alcohol and soft drinks.
Why do Soft Drinks Matter in DUI Cases?
The Australian study found that mixing artificially sweetened beverages with alcohol can produce higher breathalyzer readings. Researchers in the U.S. have also made similar findings, Scientific American for one.
This could be a very important factor in your DUI case depending upon the facts of your case. As efforts increase to lower the breath alcohol level at which an “inference” of impairment is established under DUI law, anything inflating a breath alcohol reading could have serious implications.
Considering this , at least in South Carolina, where breath alcohol reading levels are tied to the amount of punishment of a person if convicted, the results of this study cannot be ignored by an effective DUI lawyer.
How much is the reading affected?
The study found that artificially sweetened drinks, such as Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, provided an average breath alcohol concentration of 0.065%.
Comparatively, conventional sugary carbohydrate-laden drinks, such as Coke and Pepsi, yielded a concentration of 0.045%. The study specifically involved mixed drinks containing alcohol and soft drinks/soda.
Does it matter?
The study showed a margin of 0.02%. While that sounds small, it’s NOT. South Carolina law specifically delineates reading numbers and the punishment for producing a reading equaling or exceeding those numbers can be severe-like jail time..
Put into practice, consider this. A person orders a rum and coke with Diet Coke. Due to the way the body handles alcohol and dehydration, a person who drinks rum and Coke might very well produce a reading of 0.045% compared to the diet drink drinker who might produce a reading of 0.065%.
Here’s what. Under South Carolina DUI law, a person who produces a reading of .05 of 1% or less is conclusively presumed to NOT be under the influence of alcohol. This “conclusive presumption” is a critical legal consideration. So the person who chose Diet Coke could find himself unfairly penalized, simply because he chose diet!
This study may push you to find a new replacement for that soda or diet soda in your drink. Already too late? Contact an attorney soon to talk about your case.
If you have been charged with DUI contact us today to discuss your options and get the support you need. We are happy to meet with you and discuss your case without charge.
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