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Drinking Kombucha and Driving

Can Kombucha Consumption Lead to a DUI Charge?

Kombucha, an antioxidant- and probiotic-rich tea, is thought to be the latest superfood. However, while the beverage offers an array of health benefits, its fermentation poses a potential problem for drivers. Could its alcoholic content leave fans of the drink prone to a DUI arrest?

What Is Kombucha?

Kombucha is an Asian drink invented nearly 2000 years ago but only recently gaining popularity in the United States. It is made by adding yeast and bacteria to black or green tea which is then fermented. While the alcohol content depends on the length of the brew’s fermentation, homemade versions can reach 3% alcohol content, which is nearly the same amount as light beer. Still, most commercial brands are less than half a percent alcoholic.

Will I Get a DUI?

While it’s possible to become intoxicated from kombucha, it’s not likely. Inebriation would require a combination of factors such as long-fermented tea, multiple servings, a low alcohol tolerance, and an empty stomach. Kombucha-related DUIs are more frequently a result of breathalyzer errors rather than actual impairment.

Certain substances, kombucha included, have the potential to trigger false positives during roadside alcohol tests. Alcohol-containing mouth washes, menthol cough drops or mints, and medication have also been known to skew results.

Kombucha and Prior Offenses

For those participating in an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) program, kombucha can interfere with your ability to drive – but not because of actual intoxication. IIDs test a driver’s breath before the car’s engine can start. Kombucha’s minimal alcohol content, if it reads on the breathalyzer, can bar your car from starting.

The Bottom Line

The alcohol content of kombucha, under typical circumstances, is not significant enough to impair an individual’s ability to drive. Nonetheless, the drink could affect your breath and the reading it produces. This means that, while it is not a proper ground for conviction, this false reading could land in a wrongful arrest.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, contact Sutton & Janelle, PLLC for the aggressive defense you need to protect your future.

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