October 21, 2016 By Matthew Wallin


Could Chewing Tobacco Lead to DUI Charges?

The tests law enforcement officers use to determine if someone has been driving under the influence of alcohol can often be the deciding factor in whether or not that person faces DUI charges. Because a DUI charge can have serious implications on your future, it’s important that these tests give accurate results. But with the current DUI testing technology being used, it’s possible to be charged with a DUI for doing something as innocent as chewing tobacco.

How Tobacco Could Lead to DUI Charges

Many times, law enforcement officers ask drivers who have been pulled over on suspicion of DUI to take a breath test. This test is meant to measure your blood-alcohol content (BAC) levels. The legal limit for BAC level is 0.08%. If you are over this limit, you will likely be arrested for DUI.

So why would chewing tobacco lead to an arrest for DUI? Tobacco isn’t alcoholic, is it?

Well, the issue with chewing tobacco is related to the term “mouth alcohol.” This phrase refers to products that are not alcoholic beverages or related to alcohol but could still be detected as alcohol on your system. Chewing tobacco is one of these items (others include mouthwash, certain medicines, and dentures).

Chewing tobacco contains ethyl alcohol, which won’t cause you to be intoxicated but will leave enough traces of alcohol in your mouth that it will be detected by a breath test. So, if you have used chewing tobacco before driving, a breath test could produce false BAC results. This is especially true if you have consumed a small amount of alcohol along with chewing tobacco.

Using “Mouth Alcohol” as a Defense to DUI Charges

If you used chewing tobacco, certain medicines, mouthwash or any other product that may contain traces of alcohol before you started driving, an experienced DUI attorney may be able to use “mouth alcohol” as a valid defense to these charges.

However, it is important that you understand how to use this defense in court before attempting to do so. Even if certain products caused your BAC level to rise, it does not mean that you aren’t considered “under the influence.” This defense should only be used in certain cases to show that you were not driving while under the influence. A skilled and knowledgeable attorney will know how to apply this defense to your case.

Contact the DUI Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you have been charged with DUI, you should contact an experienced DUI lawyer immediately. At Wallin & Klarich, our DUI defense attorneys have been successfully defending our clients accused of DUI for more than 40 years. Let us help you now.

With offices in Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance and Victorville, you can find a dedicated Wallin & Klarich DUI attorney available near you no matter where you are located.

Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

AUTHOR: Matthew Wallin

Matthew B. Wallin is an experienced and knowledgeable attorney at Wallin & Klarich. He approaches each case as an opportunity to help an individual at a time when they need it most and understands that he is the one they have turned to for help.   Mr. Wallin has represented hundreds of our clients in cases involving DUI and DMV hearings, domestic violence, assault and battery, drug crimes, misdemeanors and serious felonies. With extensive experience handling DUI cases, Mr. Wallin is one of the premiere DUI defense attorney in Southern California.

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