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DUI FAQs

Will Ambien show up on a breathalyzer test?


Breathalyzer BAC tests, given at most suspected DUI traffic stops, are sensitive tests that are affected by a number of factors. It's important to understand how these tests may be effected by medications, physical and environmental factors.

Will Ambien affect my BAC test?
While chemical compounds in some medications have been shown to affect BAC levels in certain medications, there is no evidence that Ambien will cause a false BAC reading produced through a breathalyzer test.

However, it's important to know how a drug like Ambien may affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Any form of sleeping pill or sedative will dull your senses to some extent, and Ambien is no exception. When you are on any form of prescription medication, be sure to look at warning labels and discuss with your pharmacist how the drug affects you ability to drive or operate machinery.

How to take a breath test
If you are concerned for any reason about the accuracy of a breathalyzer BAC test, be open with officers and explain to them why you are worried about a false positive. If you have recently vomited, or if there is an open cut in your mouth, for instance, you'll want to disclose this to officers, who will note it. An open cut or traces of vomit in your mouth can affect a breathalyzer reading, as sensors may pick up a direct source of alcohol that is not actually in your blood.

Even the presence of dental implants or repairs can affect a breathalyzer test. Alcohol can be trapped in crevices in your mouth, leading to a false reading.

Interlock devices
Some consumer level interlock devices are designed to help combat the potential for intoxicated driving. While a breath test will not evaluate the presence of active ingredients in Ambien, some remote car starters have physical tests- a random series of buttons, usually, that must be pressed in the correct sequence in order to start a car. While manufacturers note that the devices are not a foolproof indication of intoxication, they can keep drivers from operating a vehicle if they are under the effects of a drug like Ambien and should not be on the road.

Understanding DUI
Being charged with a DUI does not require that you exclusively be under the influence of alcohol. If police determine that you are too impaired to drive, and you have alcohol in your system, you can be arrested for DUI. Understand how your medications interact with alcohol. The best way to avoid a DUI arrest is to never drive impaired.


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