We’ve previously covered how being sick, eating a low carb diet, drinking diet soda and many other things can result in your getting a false positive on a breathalyzer. Another thing many people wonder about when it comes to false positives is if hand sanitizer can get you a DUI. Overall, the answer is “no,” but in certain cases, it is possible using hand sanitizer could get you a DUI in some circumstances.
Can Using Hand Sanitizer Get You a DUI?
Generally speaking, even chronic users of hand sanitizer won’t get a false positive just because they removed germs from their hands. That being said, if you use some of the cleanser just before an officer pulls you over, it might leave enough of an alcohol smell in your car to make him suspicious. If it’s still in the air, it might even be enough to throw off a portable breathalyzer test.
Fumes Can Throw Off a Breathalyzer
In fact, alcohol fumes in the area can cause problems with even the most quality breathalyzer, but since most people are not tested immediately after being pulled over, this won’t be a problem unless you reapply the sanitizer just before testing -which police should not let you do. Of course, if police do let you use hand sanitizer before taking a breathalyzer (or if you notice any odd fumes in the room where the testing occurs) and you fail the test, this is something you need to remember to tell your attorney as it could dramatically affect your case.
Urine Tests and Hand Sanitizer
Now, while using hand sanitizer is unlikely to make you fail a breathalyzer, it turns out that it could cause you to fail a urine test. While these are rarely given in DUI cases, some people are required to take urine tests due to medical conditions. This could be a real problem for hand sanitizer users as a study by the University of Florida College of Medicine discovered that people who had not used alcohol for five days, but frequently applied Purell hand sanitizer resulted in levels of alcohol in their urine high enough for them to fail the BAC test. In other words, while unlikely, in this case, using hand sanitizer could leave you with a DUI.
Healthcare workers in particular are at risk for failed urine tests due to excess hand sanitizer use since they are required to apply the product throughout the day. If you failed a urine screening and are a regular hand sanitizer user, be sure to discuss this with your lawyer.
Drinking Hand Sanitizer Can Get you Drunk
Finally, because Purell and other hand sanitizers are high in alcohol content, some people have actually drank the products for a cheap, easy-to-get buzz. Ingesting hand sanitizer is not only dangerous though, it is just as likely to result in your getting a DUI as drinking any other alcohol before driving. The law does not distinguish what source alcohol comes from when it comes to driving under the influence -just whether or not a person is drunk behind the wheel.
If you believe that hand sanitizer may have resulted in a false positive on your BAC test, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.
Creative Commons Image by Sarah_Ackerman