In the State of Michigan, the courts and the Secretary of State can require that you operate your motor vehicle only after an ignition interlock device has been installed. The following cases typically require installation of the ignition interlock:
- OWI with a BAC > .17 (Super Drunk): In Michigan, people who are convicted of a drinking and driving offense with a BAC of .17% or greater are charged as “Super Drunk” The license restrictions are as follows: Suspended license for 45 days and 320 days of driving with a restricted license. You will be required to have a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) installed during the restricted driving period.
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As an experienced Michigan Driver’s license restoration attorney I can state with certainty that medications can cause a positive test for alcohol with an ignition interlock device. One of the most used excuses is the Nyquil defense. Yes, Nyquil can cause a positive test for alcohol. The Nyquil defense rarely works. It does not hold up to scrutiny.
The following is a very basic explanation as to why the Nyquil defense does not work. A person’s BAC (blood alcohol content) reduces about 0.02 an hour once a person has stopped drinking. Nyquil contains 10% (perhaps up to 25% in some reports) alcohol. Even if you drank a whole bottle of Nyquil, your BAC would barely get to 0.02, especially the next morning. However, it could if you drank several bottles of the medication. If you admitted that you did drink several bottles of Nyquil, the hearing officer would believe that you were abusing the substance. After all, if you have an interlock device in your car, it is because you have lost your license due to drinking and driving offenses.
In any event, considering that the body eliminates alcohol at a rate of .02 per hour, you would not test .02 in the morning several hours later, let alone test any higher than .02, that is, unless you drank many bottles. Your body would eliminate the Nyquil by the time you would have to test. As a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, you should trust me when I say that the courts and Secretary of State hearing officers do not accept the defense based upon the body’s elimination rate of alcohol.
I do agree that you could get a high alcohol reading if you just consumed Nyquil and immediately tested with the interlock device. But, why put yourself on the defensive having to prove that you did not drink liquor. Since, Nyquil does contain a high amount of alcohol you should not use Nyquil when you are alcohol testing. It is much better to avoid the problem altogether. There are alternatives on the market that do not contain alcohol.
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