If you are like many North Carolinians, you have probably purchased more hand sanitizer during the last couple of years than you have in your entire life. This makes sense, as hand sanitizers can kill as many as 99.9% of the germs you carry with you on your hands.
While staying healthy is certainly a noble goal, hand sanitizer can have some unintended consequences. Specifically, if officers ask you to breathe into a testing device as part of a DUI stop, your bottle of hand sanitizer might cause you to fail the test.
Your implied consent
Like other states, North Carolina has an implied consent law. According to this law, you have already agreed to give officers a sample of your breath simply by driving on public roadways. While you have the right to refuse to take a breath test, doing so comes with some significant consequences.
The breath test
In theory, a DUI breath test should measure the alcohol you have in your system. In practice, though, the testing device can pick up residual alcohol on your hands, arms or face, potentially causing you to fail the breath test. If your hand sanitizer has alcohol as an ingredient, you may face DUI charges despite being perfectly sober.
You typically do not have long to attack the validity of a DUI breath test, so you do not want to waste any time. Ultimately, if you believe your hand sanitizer may have caused you to fail the breath test, you should tell your attorney about your concerns immediately.