You may have heard people say that mouthwash can lead to DWI charges. They may warn you against using mouthwash before you get in the car, especially if it’s late at night — when DWI arrests are more common.
This may sound a bit far-fetched to you, but is there any truth to it?
Mouthwash does contain alcohol
The reality is that there are situations in which mouthwash can lead to DWI charges because it does contain a surprising amount of alcohol. One way to avoid this is simply to find a brand that doesn’t use alcohol since that won’t trigger the test. But most of the big brands that you’re consistently going to see have an alcohol concentration that may even be higher than what you would find in wine. Some are as high as 54 proof.
The second part of the issue is that traces of this mouthwash will stay in your mouth. They provide a high far higher concentration of alcohol than what would actually be in your bloodstream. But taking the breath test while you have any amount of mouthwash influencing that test means that it’s going to come up much higher than it would otherwise. This can also happen with alcohol – if you have a drink right before the test – but it’s less common because the focus is on consumption. The way that mouthwash is used makes it especially risky and that’s why people are wary of using it before they drive.
If you have been charged with a DWI and you believe that something like this skewed the test, be sure you know about your legal defense options.