Whether because they’re cutting calories or because the like the taste, there are a whole lot of people that use diet sodas and juices as mixers and chasers while drinking. What most people don’t know though is that artificial sweeteners can actually make your BAC appear artificially high, making you more likely to get a DUI. A La Jolla DUI defense lawyer can help you fight the charges if you believe your choice of mixer may have put you above the legal limit for driving.
Diet drinks don’t actually increase blood alcohol, but sugary drinks have a similar effect as food and slow down the absorption of alcohol from the stomach to the bloodstream. Eating food will also help slow down the absorption of alcohol.
Just like low-carb diets and fevers, breathalyzers read the alcohol concentrations in the breath of persons who have recently enjoyed diet soda as much higher than the actual amount of alcohol in that person’s system. Even when drinking small quantities of alcohol, the diet sweeteners can increase the amount of alcohol measured by a breathalyzer by as much as 18%. As any DUI defense attorney in Pacific Beach can tell you, that can easily make the difference between driving with a BAC under the legal limit and driving with one over the legal limit.
That being said, you don’t have to give up having a diet soda in your favorite cocktail just because you plan on driving later. Instead, leave yourself plenty of time between finishing the drink and getting behind the wheel as the spike in BAC comes quickly but also dissipates after a while. If you do get pulled over after having a cocktail with some type of diet beverage, North Park DUI lawyer Peter M. Liss suggests opting for a blood test instead of a breathalyzer.
If you have been charged with drunk driving and believe that drinking a diet beverage may have affected your breathalyzer results, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with top Mission Valley DUI defense attorney Peter Liss.
Creative Commons Image by Carissa Rogers