Can You Get A DUI For Using Hand Sanitizer?

Posted By Imhoff & Associates || 20-Jun-2011

A recent study conducted by the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Florida College of Medicine revealed that 8 out of 11 volunteers who had not used alcohol for five days tested positive for alcohol consumption in a urine test after frequently applying Purell hand sanitizer during the day. Purell contains 62% ethyl alcohol. The urine tests recorded levels of ethyl glucuronide of more than 500 nanograms per milliliter in the urine of 8 out of the 11 volunteers indicating that they had consumed alcohol recently. Further tests for another alcohol breakdown product, ethyl sulfate, were not found suggesting that levels of ethyl sulfate could be used as a distinguishing factor in determining whether someone had consumed alcohol or just used a product that contains alcohol. The urine test is a more accurate test than the breathalyzer test, which only measures the amount of alcohol on your breath, and any alcohol dissipates after a few hours.

The research further showed that the absorption of alcohol contained in products such as hand sanitizer, mouth wash, aftershave and cough syrup could result in someone testing positive in a urine test for alcohol use if you used more than 4 oz. a day, which is an ounce more than the size of a bottle allowed on an airplane. Health care workers may at the most risk of testing positive for alcohol consumption in a urine test because they are constantly using products to sanitize their hands throughout their working hours. Other individuals who are required by their employers to take urine tests for alcohol or drug use may want to avoid any products containing alcohol so that they do not test positive for alcohol consumption.

California DUI

If you failed a drug urine alcohol test or breathalyzer test in California because you were either pulled over by the police for suspicion of a DUI or you failed the drug alcohol urine test given by your employer, you should contact a California criminal defense attorney. In order to be convicted of DUI in California, you must have a BAC over .08% at the time of your arrest or a BAC of .01% for driver's under 21 years of age. You could face jail sentences of 96 hours to three years and fines up to $1,600, as well as completion of  a driving under the influence program, installation of an IID in your vehicle and have to obtain SR22 (California Proof of Insurance Certificate) car insurance.  There are enhanced penalties for second and third or more California DUI convictions. A conviction of three prior DUI's with a BAC of .08% within the previous 10 years is considered a felony. Even if you are a DUI first offender, your driver's license could be suspended for four months.
The attorney may be able to establish that your urine test was a false positive because you only used a product containing alcohol such as hand sanitizer and either get your case dismissed or convince your employer that you were not using alcohol or drug so you can keep your job. If evidence does determine that you were consuming an alcohol beverage or an illegal drug while driving a motor vehicle in California, the attorney may be able to get your charges reduced to speeding, get you into a drug or alcohol treatment program with a suspended sentence, probation or get your case dismissed.

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