If you see flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror as you drive home after a night out with friends, you might immediately feel nervous. Even if you believe you haven’t done anything wrong, just knowing a New York police officer is attempting a traffic stop can make your stress level soar.
It’s helpful if you know your rights and can make informed decisions as the events unfold and the police officer approaches your driver side window. If you lack knowledge, you might wind up saying or doing something that makes matters worse down the line. An officer that suspects you of drunk driving might ask you to take a preliminary breath test, in which case, there are things you should know ahead of time.
You can be sober and fail the test
You might assume that, if you did not consume any alcohol in the hours prior to the police officer stopping you, all you have to do is say as much and he or she will tell you that you can leave. It doesn’t always happen that way, however. In fact, if you take a breath test, there’s a high chance that it might generate a false positive result. The following list includes products and conditions that may cause a breath test device to detect alcohol on your breath:
- Have you ever used mouthwash before going on a date or meeting friends for a night on the town? Do you know that a main ingredient in many mouthwash products is alcohol, and that can cause a breath test device to register positive?
- You might never expect your sweet tooth to land you in jail. However, certain confections, such as hot cross buns, use substantial amounts of yeast, which can trigger a false positive result on a breath test device.
- If you are one of many New York residents who have diabetes or hypoglycemia, you may have acetone on your breath at times. While this might not normally be a problem, if you take a roadside breath test at the request of a police officer, it can cause a false positive result, which may in turn lead to an arrest.
If a police officer arrests you, then asks you to take a Breathalyzer test, you’re obligated to comply because of implied consent laws. However, the preliminary test device used at a roadside in a traffic stop is different from a chemical Breathalyzer test. You don’t have to submit to a roadside test or a field sobriety test. Most drivers, however, determine it’s better to cooperate than to create further complications by denying the request.
If an arrest takes place
The bottom line is that being sober doesn’t guarantee you won’t face arrest for suspected DUI during a traffic stop. The best thing you can do in such circumstances is to try to remain as calm as possible and to know where to seek support to help you protect your rights.