My daughter was charged with underage drinking reading was .023 could taking nyquil or halls cough drops affect the reading?

Asked over 1 year ago - Bedford, PA

My daughter was sick over the weekend and had been taking nyquil and halls cough drops. She had a campfire and some people showed up who were not invited. The cops came and a lot of those poeple fled. The cops tested the other ones and my daughter tested .023. She told me and the cops that she wasn't drinking. She was even eating a halls cough drop and had to remove it to take the portable breathalyzer test. I asked the police to take her for a bloodtest but they said it was my responsibility to do that. I took her to the hospital as soon as I could and we then had to wait about another hour in the emergency room before they did the blood test. The test came back with no trace of alcohol. I also had them do a urine test to test for drugs which was also negative.

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Joseph N. Gothie

    Pro

    Contributor Level 5

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    Answered . The breath testing devices are not admissible in court unless the device is among one of the types approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health AND the device was properly calibrated. The case dealing with this issue is Commonwealth v. Brigidi, which you can find here: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/pa-superior-court/12...

    Your answer says that you are in Bedford. I am from the area, and I do take cases from Bedford occasionally. If you have a more or less contemporaneous blood test from the hospital that clears her, it certainly helps things.

    You cannot expect to simply go to the MDJ's office and present the blood test from the hospital and expect to win. There are complicated evidentiary issues in play here, and it is not reasonable to expect that a layperson could manage those alone. You really should hire an attorney to represent her on this case.

    I do not represent you. You should hire an attorney. Only after meeting you and talking to you during a review of... more
  2. Robert C. Keller

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . You should retain a criminal defense attorney to represent your daughter. The key is to attempt to avoid a conviction and license suspension. Good luck.

  3. Zachary Cooper

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . Contact an attorney immediately to go over all possible defenses and options for your daughter. If she can get out of this with no license suspension that would be a victory.

  4. Christopher M. Patterson

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. There are far too many issues to be answered in this forum. Hall's cough drops should not affect any brac reading; Nyquil may, depending on its composition. Good luck!

  5. Robert Bond

    Contributor Level 10

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    Answered . You are probably referring to alcohol trapping from over the counter medication that can affect breathylizer results... The good thing is that your daughter did not refuse to cooperate with police investigation...

    Now , you can help your daughter to contact an attorney who can help your daughter...

    Of course my answers are not the only source that you should rely on. Furthermore, its best to contact me about... more
  6. Daniel M. Myshin

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . I agree with my colleagues who recommend that you seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney to avoid adverse consequences to her license. The pre-breath test administered to your daughter is notoriously inaccurate. Even more so when administered incorrectly. The blood tests performed at the hospital are much more accurate. Good luck!

  7. Robert John Schefter Jr.

    Pro

    Contributor Level 5

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    Answered . Your daughter has a valid defense, and the blood and urine test results should be compelling evidence. The PBT results should not be admissible at the hearing pursuant to a 2010 PA Supreme Court case that your attorney can describe for you. So it seems to me the question is not whether cold medicines can affect the PBT results, but rather whether the officer can testify to any other physical indications of impairment, e.g., glassy bloodshot eyes, odor of alcohol, swaying, slurred speech, etc. If not, I don't see how the Commonwealth can meet its burden of proof. Make sure you have an attorney.

    This is a response to a general question and is not legal advice and does not constitute legal representation.... more

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