Friday, February 3, 2017

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: Can Kombucha Tea Fail Your IID (ignition interlock device)?


The more you live, the more you learn. Or as I like to joke, life is a school. DWI clients call and tell us their problems even post DWI. My IID is not working, I'm locked out on my IID, my IID failed me because of the extreme cold or because I used mouthwash or because I drank a lot last night, and I guess it's still in my system. When I heard that Kombucha tea can cause a failure, I'm like what?

Kombucha comes in many flavors, but its base is always the same, made by leaving a fungus of yeast and bacteria to ferment for several weeks in sugary tea. The resulting brew has some alcohol and tastes tart, vinegary and is slightly effervescent. It then often is made palatable by adding juice. 
In order to maintain its probiotic benefits, kombucha is left unpasteurized, or raw, although some companies recently have started selling pasteurized varieties.
                                                                                                       ABC News

So apparently Kombucha has some degree of alcohol in it because of the fermentation. So say that the tea  has .5% alcohol. I guess depending upon how much tea you drink will cause an alcohol reading. Since drinking tea is the new coffee, at least with my millennials it is good to know that the tea has more than just tea. It is now being investigated by the FDA, and the government is looking into taxing it as an alcoholic beverage.

More government craziness with Kombucha tea but does it or can it trigger an IID failure?

Kombucha Tea Can Cause an IID (ignition interlock device) Fail

A great many things can cause IID failures including Kombucha tea, toothpaste, mouthwash, perfume, cologne, and even white bread or potatoes. Food caught in the teeth can break down, again the yeast in the bread causing fermentation into a low level of alcohol. In some counties Judges have a zero tolerance for IID failures.

In New York State (Post) DWI the Usual Level for Failure of a Court Ordered  IID is .05 BAC or More

Even though some Judges punish device failures of .02 BAC the usual level for a true violation of the IID is .05 BAC. To get to .05 BAC you would need to have had a few drinks and then get in your car. The most common IID violation situation we encounter is the person who had a long night of drinking and then in the morning tries to start their car. It is NOT uncommon to see DWI levels of .08 BAC or higher in the early morning hours. After all only time can bring down a BAC.

Are There Other Drinks Which May Cause a Failed IID Test?

Ithaca College and Cornell University students are drinking more and more crazy drinks other than water. In fact I tried getting my usual dark roast of Starbucks up at the collegetown store, and was told they sell NO coffee only coffee drinks. The barister had to do a "pour over" for me, now I was feeling old. I guess only us older folk drink dark (sorry, bold) coffee these days. Anyway can other beverages violate you with an IID?

  • Probiotic Beverages that contain yogurt or milk that ferment, like water or dairy Kefir
  • Kvass which is made from stale sourdough bread, tastes like beer
  • Many cold medicines, OTC cough syrups, and headache remedies contain alcohol (read the label)
  • Many fruit beverages (although many have little to no fruit) can ferment if left in your car, sounds gross but it happens
  • Rejevulac
  • Lacto fermented sodas: ginger, lemon-lime, root beer
  • Juice from Cultured Vegetables
  • Sweet Potato beverages 

What all these drinks have in common is the fermenting. So be aware if you an IID on your car to either avoid these types of drinks OR wash out your mouth throughly and wait out a time period to allow the small amount of alcohol to pass through your system.