DUI from Kombucha Tea - Is it Possible?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jun 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

Kombucha, a newly popular beverage touted for its apparent health benefits, may be the cause of an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) in Georgia. Kombucha is a fermented drink, meaning it contains some alcohol, even in a small amount.

If you were arrested for suspected DUI, and you were drinking Kombucha before or while driving, the drink likely caused a false positive in the roadside "Breathalyzer" tests administered by Georgia law enforcement. An experienced Georgia DUI attorney can defend your case and protect your rights.

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha has recently become an incredibly popular new drink, with origins credited to Japan, China, and other countries in the region starting nearly 2000 years ago. Kombucha is a fermented, sweetened black or green tea produced by the addition of a symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria.

Kombucha tea does contain alcohol, but it is usually in trace amounts. Alcohol content is usually less than one percent, but certain teas have been known to range anywhere from half a percent to five percent alcohol. To compare, a can of Bud Light is 4.2% alcohol.

Will I Get Drunk off of Kombucha?

This question, of course, depends on a number of factors such as the alcohol content of your tea, what you have eaten, and your tolerance. Certain non-pasteurized Kombucha teas continue to ferment, meaning the longer you have them the stronger they become.

Ultimately, it is unlikely that you will become intoxicated as a result of Kombucha consumption. This does not mean there is no risk if you drink before or while operating your motor vehicle in Georgia. If you are pulled over and are given a roadside "Breathalyzer" test, recent consumption of Kombucha may cause a higher blood alcohol content (BAC) reading than is accurate.

This means you may test above the legal limit of 0.08% when in actuality your BAC is far lower. In many cases, officers then ask you to submit to field sobriety tests to determine if you are intoxicated. These tests are often inaccurate due to their subjective nature and an officer can perceive you as under the influence when you are not.

Ignition Interlock Device Issues

If you have been previously charged with DUI in the State of Georgia, you may have an ignition interlock device installed on your car. This device tests your breath for the presence of alcohol before it will allow you to start your vehicle. Even a minimal amount of alcohol will cause the ignition interlock device to prevent the use of your vehicle.

Ignition interlock devices may detect the minimal presence of alcohol on your breath if you drink a fermented drink like Kombucha. The FDA does not consider a drink an "alcoholic beverage" unless the alcohol content is above one half of a percent. This means that you did not have to produce an ID to buy your Kombucha, but that minimal amount of alcohol can cause you to fail the ignition interlock device test.

A violation because of a failed ignition interlock device test can result in further criminal penalties, fines, and suspension of your license.

Consult an Attorney

If you have been arrested or charged with a Georgia DUI due to the consumption of a fermented beverage such as Kombucha, your results may simply be a false positive. Never assume that just because you were charged that you are guilty.

An experienced Georgia DUI attorney knows the finer points of Georgia DUI law. With that knowledge and experience, your charges could be reduced or even dismissed. Contact us today for a free consultation.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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