If a Minnesota police officer makes a traffic stop and asks the driver to exit his or her vehicle, it is likely that the officer suspects the driver of intoxication or other impairment. During this type of traffic stop, a police officer might ask a driver to take a field sobriety test or preliminary alcohol screening, which is typically a breath test. While a driver is under no obligation to comply with such requests, anyone who does comply should be aware that failing a test may lead to a DWI arrest.
Sober people have been arrested for DWI
Many people assume that if they have not consumed alcohol before driving, there is nothing to worry about because a breath test will register negative for alcohol. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily true. In fact, there are numerous issues that can cause a breath test to register positive for alcohol, even if the person being tested has not consumed an alcoholic beverage.
Here are some examples of issues that can cause a false positive on a breath test:
- Protein bars, cinnamon rolls and certain types of bread
- Fermented vegetables or fruits
- Hot sauce
- Acid reflux
- Diabetes, heart disease and other medical conditions
Breath tests are not 100% accurate. Also, field sobriety tests involve the opinion of the police officer administering the test. If he or she interprets a movement as “off balance” or otherwise gives a low score, it may constitute probable cause to make a DWI arrest. For instance, if a person is clumsy and has trouble standing on one leg, it could be interpreted as a poor test performance and suspected intoxication. If a person is arrested for DWI and knows that he or she is innocent, a criminal defense attorney can help. In fact, anyone charged with a DWI offense, whether the individual was drinking or not, should consult an attorney at the first opportunity.