Did you know that you can get a DUI from drinking too much caffeine?

Well, more specifically … Energy Drinks!

Most people wouldn’t expect that you could be arrested for DUI simply from consuming an energy drink, but it happens. Energy drinks are thought of as a way to keep from getting a DUI, not causing one, but it can happen to you, as you will read.

How Does Caffeine Cause A DUI?

Let’s say you get pulled over one night at a DUI checkpoint. Even if you seem alert and competent, you may still be subjected to a DUI test. Part of a DUI test is to blow into a breathalyzer.  You may feel pretty confident about passing because you haven’t been drinking or don’t drink at all. Imagine the amount of shock you would feel if you then blew above the legal blood alcohol limit. You would probably be quite upset and express your dismay to the law enforcement officer who conducted the test. This confrontation could lead to a charge of resisting arrest on top of the DUI. How could such an occurrence happen? Let’s take a deeper look.

Many energy drinks have high caffeine content, but that does not really cause someone to show they are under the influence when they have a breathalyzer test administered. There is an ingredient in some energy drinks you would not expect, ethanol. Yes, the same ethanol that is used as an additive in gasoline. It is an organic fuel that is really corn-based alcohol. So, while you wouldn’t drink from a gas pump, ethanol is perfectly safe.  With that fact in mind, you can begin to see why drinking an energy drink with ethanol could lead to a DUI.

It is unlikely you would show that you were driving under the influence from a single energy drink; the more you drink, the more likely you will be seen as intoxicated. A law enforcement officer is unlikely to believe you when you explain you were not drinking. It is their job to keep the street’s safe, and they hear excuses from drunk drivers frequently, which makes it likely you will be arrested and charged.

Let’s add some other circumstances to our scenario.

Perhaps you will be driving on little sleep and are consuming energy drinks to aid in staying awake.  When you are pulled over, you will most likely exhibit the appearance of being intoxicated with signs such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Shaky Hands
  • Rapid Heartbeat and Breathing
  • Blurred Vision
  • Dizziness

These signs, along with blowing positive on a breathalyzer, are sure to be arrested for drunk driving. Even pointing out to the law enforcement officer that an empty can shows ethanol as an ingredient is unlikely to change their mind. The only way to avoid being charged with DUI when pulled over is not to consume alcoholic beverages or energy drinks containing ethanol.

What Can I Do If I Have Been Arrested For DUI When I Haven’t Consumed Alcohol?

As previously stated, it is unlikely that the arresting law enforcement officer will believe your story. Don’t consent to a field sobriety test if the state you are in does not require it. In most cases, a blood draw will be done instead, which will look for a wide spectrum of illicit drugs and alcohol.  In most states, caffeine will not be one of the drugs they are looking for, but it can be considered in some states such as California. After they have taken your blood, you need to call a DUI attorney and explain what happened. Be sure to give details such as what energy drink you were consuming to your DUI lawyer. They will be able to have the case dismissed based on their knowledge, along with the evidence of the energy drink you consumed.

Don’t Accept A False DUI Charge

If you have been charged with a DUI after consuming an energy drink and aren’t sure where to turn, Tim W. Fleming, Attorney at Law has DUI lawyers with the acumen and experience to get your DUI charge dismissed. Call us now or fill out our simple contact form and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss how the false DUI charge can be dismissed.

There is no need to worry – just contact us today!