Brian Lutmer, Carol Zurfluh and Christopher Long with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, State Public Health Laboratory, Breath Alcohol Program, and the Saint Louis University Toxicology Laboratory, Toxicology Department conducted a study to answer such a question. They tested 27 energy drinks, and 11 (40.7%) showed up positive for alcohol on the IID. The problem with the IID is that Ethanol can be found in many energy drinks as merely an incidental additive for flavoring or other agent.

You would think the alcohol would show up on a label, but federal law only requires the ethanol content to be reported or labeled if the alcohol content is .5% w/v or greater. During their research, they found that 13 of the 27 drinks tested had ethanol concentrations above .06% w/v and 9 of the 27 had concentrations higher than .096% w/v. At these levels, the IID will show a positive reading for alcohol. Where the problem comes in is that the IID that is commonly used has no way of guarding against positive readings due to residual mouth alcohol.

The study goes on to say that a mandatory observation period prior to testing should help prevent these false positives, however, that is something that is very unrealistic in the IID setting. Most folks just get in their car, blow into the IID and attempt to start the car. All along, not realizing they may be in the first step of a Motion to Revoke their bond or probation. Again, what seems simple rarely is. Hiring a good attorney that realizes what can cause false positives in the IID is imperative.