Weird DUI Plea: Save the Paws!

weird DUI save the pets pawsWe hear a lot of weird for DUI stories, and a lot of weird DUI pleas (beer battered fish, anyone?). However, we do not often get a chance to see how drunk driving can subsequently affect the lives of our furry, feathered, or finned friends. With the exception of this ad, of course:

Of course, it was refreshing to see a recent editorial take on the problem of those drunk drivers who are drinking while driving. That’s a DUI so dangerous that it takes a minute to realize that people still DO drink alcohol while driving (it is technically still legal in Mississippi). Otherwise, there would be no reason to beg driving drinkers to stick with cans of beer, not bottles so that their pets’ feet were not affected when empty (and broken) containers became litter on the sidewalk.

Breathe. Dogs, litter, cars, and alcohol do not mix. You’re not crazy.

Also remember that if you drink and drive while you have a dog or other pet in the vehicle, you are endangering their life, too. Your pet, much like a young child, has no choice but to ride along with you when you are intoxicated. For their safety, if not for yours or the safety of others on the road, ditch the drinks before you drive. You could have an aggravated DUI charge that reflects animal cruelty, on top of any other drunk driving consequences, like an ignition interlock device.

When it comes to DUI and our pets, remember that we are the ones who have to make the choices. So, let’s not drink while driving, or drink and then drive, let’s not litter, or try to get drunk on goldfish. Let’s keep all of the weird DUI things to a minimum so that we can enjoy our time with our animals, not missing their happy faces.

Weird DUI: You Got a Wisconsin Snowmobile OWI?

Weird DUI Wisconsin Snowmobile OWIMost laws are the result of a person doing something wrong, something that hurts another person’s body, property, or possibly just their feelings. It may also be obvious that a lot of crimes occur under the influence of alcohol. Those innocent beers with friends quickly lead to dangerous decisions, because inhibitions are lowered or judgment flies out the window. While not violent, the weird DUI law criminalizing a drunken snowmobile ride in Wisconsin are still an indication that wherever there is alcohol and a vehicle, the lives and property of others need to be protected.

Evidently, intoxicated snowmobiling in Wisconsin is a pretty common, but weird DUI (OWI).

The state reports an unusually high amount of OWI incidents that occur on snowmobiles. This won’t surprise those who understand how Wisconsin OWI law works. For an OWI that occurs behind the wheel of a car, truck, or SUV the penalty is sometimes nothing more than a traffic ticket. Most first-offense OWI incidents are not criminalized, especially if nobody got hurt and nothing was damages (this type of OWI is defined as a “simple” drunk driving incident). Because the state does not take a strong stance against drunk driving, residents understandably do not see their intoxicated actions as a big deal.

That weird DUI attitude can also bleed over into other intoxicated crimes, including driving a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol, as well as violent crimes, sexual assaults, and more.

There probably is not one person out there who does not see the connection between alcohol and crime, or at least alcohol and bad decisions. Yet, each day, people still drink and drive, or drink and end up with an ignition interlock requirement, or in jail for those decisions. An OWI on a snowmobile may seem like a typical Wisconsin problem, but it is also an illustration of just how easy it is to make a smart choice before drinking and just not allowing alcohol to impair our own common sense.

Weird DUI: Toothpaste and Your BAC

weird DUI toothpaste mythWhen we get ready for a fun night with friends, we usually have a checklist of things to do before we leave the house. Not often enough does that checklist include a designated driver or a plan for a safe ride home if we are drinking. However, we usually do make sure we look and smell our best, including our teeth. This may get a little fresh, but we are here to expose another weird DUI myth: toothpaste and a positive breathalyzer test.

Much like the intoxicated milk theory, this blood alcohol concentration (BAC) myth is filled with assumptions and just plain bad information. Toothpaste will not be a factor in any drunk driving arrest or conviction. The weird DUI truth is that while there is sorbitol, or sugar alcohol, in many brands of toothpaste… sugar alcohol is not the substance that breathalyzers (or ignition interlock devices) detect. The stunner in this is that sugar alcohol is not even alcohol.

On top of that, even if sugar alcohol was detectable by a breathalyzer or ignition interlock device, you would have to have a lot of toothpaste in your mouth to register a BAC high enough to be illegal… or concerning. Intoxicated people drink a lot of alcohol, they do not binge brush their teeth. True story.

Would your dentist approve of your weird DUI?

Toothpaste has two things in common with some mouthwashes, or those products that actually have a shot at a false BAC reading: mint flavor and oral hygiene. Mint will not set off a breathalyzer, however. The alcohol in some mouthwashes will. That is why one of the big tips for those with an ignition interlock device is to make sure they swish out any mouthwash before submitting a breath sample. The trace amount of alcohol left behind by mouthwash can trigger a false positive reading on an interlock, but that is also at a much lower level than the legal limit for a DUI.

Weird DUI Debunked: Milk and Your BAC

Welcome to Weird DUI debunking… the milk edition.

weird dui milkWhen we think about drunk driving, we are pretty much guaranteed that the cause of the incident is related to alcohol… the kind that is served in bars or restaurants. The confusion begins when we start to look at the connection (or disconnection) between alcohol, sugar, and people trying to get out of trouble for a DUI.

Alcohol is a product of fermentation, and it is a sugar. Alcohol and sugar are both used in various food or beverages that we can eat or drink legally, no matter how old we are or whether we will be driving later. Maybe that is why claims that beer battered foods or wine sauces cause high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) readings during DUI investigations are not uncommon.

What IS uncommon is the myth that milk (a legal, alcohol-free beverage that you can drink before driving) can somehow cause a BAC measurement, and one high enough to cause a DUI arrest or conviction.

We like to believe that what is discussed on the Internet stays on the Internet. But, people still believe that sucking on pennies can beat a BAC test. So, here we are, explaining that in no way, shape or form can milk cause a BAC reading.

  • Yes, milk contains lactose.
  • Lactose is a milk sugar.
  • Sugar and alcohol are often tossed together as bad additions to diets.
  • Sugar alcohol is neither a sugar nor an alcohol.
  • The only thing that can cause a BAC reading is alcohol. Not sugar, not sugar alcohol, and certainly not milk. Not even if the milk is fermented… like alcohol.

PSA: do not drink fermented milk. Ick.

If you are wondering what set off the police breathalyzer or your ignition interlock device, it was likely the drinks you consumed before driving. If you did not drink alcoholic beverages, maybe you are using cough medicine or swished a little too much mouthwash before blowing into the device. Your glass of milk or the foam in your cappuccino is not the culprit for your weird DUI problem.

Weird DUI: Mosquito Bites and your BAC

weird dui mosquitoIf only there was some way to really know whether are safe to drive after sharing a few drinks with friends. Aside from the obvious breathalyzer test or common sense, that is. If only we were given a sign that would tell us how much alcohol was in our system before we make that buzzed decision to get behind the wheel and drive home.

According to science, we are in luck. A documented, yet weird DUI premonition can come from those pesky bloodsuckers who come to feast at dusk. Mosquitos, it seems, are more attracted to those who are under the influence of alcohol than those who prefer a more sober summer style.

That is a buzz we can all live without, but the weird DUI fact is that alcohol in our blood gives the little buggy pests a scented target that is irresistible. When we drink, we sweat a bit more. We smell a little differently. Our core temperature also rises. All of those factors are attractive to mosquitoes, more than we may realize (because we are intoxicated), and all of those factors are also obvious signs that we are not safe to drive.

Remember that mosquitoes can also carry diseases. Another reason to keep a sober mind, or at least stay at home if you’ll be drinking.

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the measurement used by law enforcement to determine if a person is legally intoxicated. It is also what causes mosquitos to keep bugging us for sample after sample of those shots we just shared.

Perhaps the next time you are enjoying those drinks with friends, notice who is swatting away the mosquitoes. If that person is you, then make a plan for a safe ride home. Not only are you avoiding the dangers of a DUI and the consequences for drunk driving (like an ignition interlock device), but you are also keeping the mosquitos from buzzing while… Buzzed.

Weird DUI: Sleeping it Off in (Any) Car?

weird dui sleeping it offAround here we stick to what the experts say, especially if it means we get to mention weird DUI stories. Like the one about the guy who broke into a police car while drunk and then passed out. Because we know that there is no cure for intoxication except to allow the time needed to metabolize alcohol – to sleep it off. No number of showers, coffee, or late-night food binges will create a magical state of sobriety. Sleep, however, will allow the time needed to get your head straight. We just do not recommend you sleep it off in a squad car.

There is a weird DUI truth in sleeping in a car if you’re intoxicated: you could be charged with drunk driving.

It is more common than you think. Not everyone is able to separate from their vehicle at the end of a night of drinking, but they also may know they are too drunk to drive. The obvious answer is to sleep off their stupor in their vehicle. The obvious problem is that in most states if you are sleeping off a drunk and are in any sort of “control” of the vehicle (like sleeping in the driver’s seat, or with the keys in the ignition), you can be charged with DUI – even if the car has not been started.

Avoiding a weird DUI like this is no different from avoiding any other type of DUI and the consequences for your actions (like an ignition interlock requirement). If you know you will be drinking, do not make it weird by trying to drive yourself home at the end of the night. In most cases, you will just end up in trouble, regretting your decision to sleep it off anywhere except in your own comfortable bed.

DUI Danger: Can You Get Drunk on Goldfish?

drunk on goldfishPeople make a lot of excuses for their dangerous DUI behavior. Out of those excuses, food seems to be one of the biggest reasons people give for drinking and driving. When asking why a DUI suspect may be over the legal limit, or why there was a problem with an ignition interlock test, some swear their wine sauce must have left a trace of alcohol in their breath sample. Others point to the beer battered fish dinner that was eaten right before being pulled over by law enforcement. Now it seems that there could be a new twist on the fish tale, quite literally, as science reveals the alcohol content present in goldfish: you can technically get drunk on goldfish.

As suspected, goldfish (not the crackers) produce the same type of alcohol we humans drink.

What this means is pretty simple, you should be cautious when consuming those aquarium staples. Being drunk on goldfish is pretty much like being drunk on anything else: you lose your inhibitions, you feel warm and fuzzy and eventually, those good feelings give way to a certain queasiness. Of course, that stomach-churning nausea could be a numbers game. In order to get drunk on goldfish, you would have to consume a pretty big pond filled with the little swimmers. Science warns us that even though goldfish are now a known intoxicant, you would have to eat around 16,000 of them to experience the same effect as a pint of five percent ABV beer. No wonder you feel queasy.

The same measurement holds true for beer battered fish (or chicken) or any foods cooked with alcohol. The amount you would have to consume to have a measurable blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is so high you’d likely have other digestive problems before intoxication became a concern. Conversely, the small amount of alcohol you are digesting through beer batter, goldfish or a nice chicken marsala will not be a reasonable excuse for your DUI or a failed ignition interlock test.

If getting drunk on goldfish is part of your weekend plan, we ask you to rethink your plans… for the sake of the fish in your path, and the other drivers you may encounter on your ride home.

Weird DUI: Guilty and Driving Yourself to Jail

weird dui guilt trip signAlcohol has a way of bringing out our true feelings, whether it’s a 2 AM text to an ex or the guilt felt by a drunk driver. Sometimes that means a drunk driver heads directly into a DUI checkpoint, ready to admit guilt. In other cases, a suspect may be trying to get off the streets as quickly as possible, driving right past law enforcement. In a recent weird DUI case, a man in California felt so bad about his intoxicated judgment that he drove himself (under the influence of alcohol) to a local police station to turn himself in.

What do you do when you realize you’re too drunk to drive? Stop driving immediately.

If not, you could be the next in this series of weird DUI stories:

In every sense, a DUI is pretty much a guarantee that you are driving yourself to jail, even if you are only trying to get home. Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in all 50 states and a danger to everyone on the road. With risks like high court costs and fines, possible jail time, an ignition interlock requirement, and the reality of a fatal accident skipping the weird DUI or any drunk driving incident is the best advice you can follow. Alcohol definitely encourages a true reflection of our inner workings, but that should never include a trip to the police station at any point in our travels home.

Weird Things DUI: Drunk on a Plane

drunk-on-a-plane-lifting-glassAt any time we could be injured by a drunk driver. That’s why we have consequences like an ignition interlock device in place that prevent people from driving under the influence of alcohol. Then, we see a people sitting at an airport bar and wonder, what about that rumor about getting drunk on a plane, just like the Dierks Bentley song? Can people get drunk, faster, while flying?

Leave it to Mythbusters to bring some sense into that whole question. It is a lot like the myth behind drinking a beer with a straw and how that can supposedly get you drunker, in the sense that both are just rumors.

Our brains are wired to perform best under familiar situations, and when those situations have more (or less) stimulation, our same, beautiful brains try to make sense of things so that we can function as normally as possible. Being super high in the sky, no pun intended, doesn’t actually cause us to get more drunk. Our bodies don’t slow down the metabolism of alcohol in the face of a higher altitude, so when we feel more intoxicated while flying, that’s actually the altitude just doing its low-oxygen thing. We feel a little bit more drunk on a plane even if we’re not drinking, because our brain is trying to get itself back to normal.

That’s pretty similar to the drinking beer through a straw – the euphoria is pretty much all in our heads, and due to a vacuum, lack of oxygen, or just not using common sense.

The boosted, drunk on a plane feeling often levels out as we land and deplane, but remember you can still get a DUI if you drink and then hop behind the wheel of a car. Just like if you’re planning a night out with friends, if you know you like your cockpit cocktails and have to drive yourself away from the airport, make sure you have a way to get from point A to B without the dangers of being a drunk driver.

Weird DUI Things: Burping Out of a Breathalyzer Test

weird DUI burp breathalyzer test We hear about plenty of myths concerning how to beat a car breathalyzer or ignition interlock. Because breathalyzer technology has evolved greatly over the last century, and especially in the last few years, the devices are hard to fool, giving rise to some interesting theories on how to submit a “clean” breath sample. Such as burping into an ignition interlock device in order to beat the breath test.

A burp is the release of gas from the stomach or esophagus, caused by a reaction in the digestive tract from consuming food or beverages.  Because of the concentrated release of gas in a burp, it was once believed that a person taking a breathalyzer test could skew the results. Then, the person providing the breath sample would be able to drive home (likely drunk), because of a false result and an inability to prove their level of intoxication with the breathalyzer.

An ignition interlock device, however, has no discretion – either you pass or fail.

Because an ignition interlock device reports a drunk driving offender’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level to the court, DMV or other reporting agency, it is imperative that the technology used in the device is as accurate as possible. A 1992 study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison proves there is no difference in measuring BAC through a standard breath sample or one that was obtained through burping. Ignition interlock devices test for alcohol in the breath and even a concentrated, burped sample of breath still contains an accurate BAC. Regardless, other studies recommend police officers observe a suspected DUI offender for 20 minutes prior to administering a breathalyzer test in order to reduce the chance of an abnormally high BAC reading.

Clearly burping to beat an ignition interlock test will just cause a test failure and could result in a longer time requirement, revocation of driving privileges, or worse. Instead of trying to burp your way out of the test, just find a safe and sober ride home.