We have had some successful IRP appeals involving drivers using prescribed inhalers for their breathing conditions.
One Drink, No Symptoms:
In one recent case, police stopped a driver and asked if she had consumed alcohol. She admitted to having one drink about a half an hour before. The officer made an ASD demand even though there weren’t any symptoms of poor driving, fumbling, in-coordination, or slurred speech.
The driver was confident one drink was not enough to put her over the limit. She was dumbfounded when she got an ASD FAIL. The officer then offered a second test on a different ASD to confirm the accuracy of the first FAIL result. The driver believed the first result must be an error and so agreed to the second, which was also a FAIL. The officer impounded her car and gave her a 90 day IRP.
Questioned by Lawyer:
Certain the tests were wrong, though she didn’t know how, she consulted a lawyer. Fortunately, the lawyer was one we do a lot of consulting for and knew to ask all the right questions, including if she has an inhaler.
Police must ask you when you last consumed alcohol and ensure there are a clear 15 minutes between your last drink and the ASD tests. The problem is traces of mouth alcohol will give falsely high ASD tests. This driver answered correctly and said her last drink was half an hour before. But she used her asthma inhaler just before she was stopped by the officer and had no idea inhalers can contain alcohol.
Some Inhalers Contain Alcohol:
Not all asthma inhalers contain alcohol, but many do. We showed the one she used did indeed have alcohol in the formulation. Our report indicated recently published papers have shown false tests after inhaler use. We also calculated the driver’s blood alcohol concentration and showed it was very low at that time of the ASD tests. All this went before the adjudicator for the review.
Successful IRP Appeals:
These two facts, together with an absence of symptoms, caused the adjudicator to revoke the IRP and cancel the impoundment. The driver got back her license and the towing and storage fees. Another successful IRP appeal!