It’s just about heart stopping to see those red and blue flashing lights in your rearview mirror, especially if you stopped at the bar on your way home from work or had a few glasses of wine with your dinner.
You’re naturally worried about a drunk driving charge. You don’t think that you’re actually over the legal limit – nor that your driving is impaired. However, you are worried that the officer will smell alcohol on your breath and ask you to take a Breathalyzer test. Should you reach for the mints you always have in your car or that mouthwash you keep in your travel bag before the officer gets to your window?
That’s probably the last thing you want to try
It’s true that the officer might smell alcohol on your breath. Then again, they might not. However, if you smell minty-fresh when the officer walks up to your car because you’ve quickly chewed a handful of mints or used your mouthwash, you stand about a 100% chance of making that officer suspect that you’re trying to hide something.
If that happens, your attempt to hide the smell of alcohol on your breath could turn a stop for a broken taillight into a suspected drunk driving stop. The extra scrutiny is certainly not going to do you any favors.
Plus, using mouthwash is a particularly bad choice in a situation like this. If you are asked to take a Breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) level, the mouthwash may skew the results higher. Some types of mouthwash actually contain a significant amount of alcohol, and it can take up to 20 minutes for that alcohol to clear away. Until then, you could easily fail a breath test even if you’re not impaired by alcohol.
It’s best to stay calm when you’ve been stopped by the police. Hopefully, it’s just a minor traffic violation, and you’ll soon be on your way. If you are charged with drunk driving, exercise your right to remain silent until you can explore your potential defenses.