Florida native and star of the Disney XD show “Lab Rats”, Billy Unger was arrested on June 28 for driving under the influence in California. Just after midnight, Unger was pulled over by police after he was caught speeding in Malibu, California. Police asked the child star to take a breathalyzer, where he blew a .08. Unger, who is 18 years old, was arrested for driving under the influence as a result.
Under California Law, someone is presumed to be under the influence when they have a BAC of over .08. However, for those under 21 years old, the legal limit in California is .01. Having a BAC of .08 means that Unger would have been presumed to be impaired under both of these standards.
The BAC limit for those over 21 in every state, including Florida, is .08. However, states do differ on the BAC limit for those who are drinking illegally because they are underage. In Florida, that limit is .02. In California however, where Unger was arrested, the limit is .01. Some states are even stricter with their zero tolerance drinking policies for those who are underage, charging those under 21 with DUI for any presence of alcohol at all.
While the reasoning for having a zero tolerance policy for underage drinkers who get behind the wheel is understandable, it can be problematic in some cases. There are many things that can set off a false positive in a breathalyzer, making it seem like someone has been drinking when they, in fact, have not. Some of these could include items that have alcohol in them that are not actually ingested, such as mouthwash or breath spray. Other things that may result in false positives on a breathalyzer could include some medical conditions such as diabetes, using an inhaler or even being on a low carb diet.
While this could be a problem for anyone who gets pulled over for suspicion of drinking and driving, it could be a real problem for someone who is under 21. With a limit of .02 or under, the chance of having a BAC over the legal limit due to a false positive goes up. There are things that police are supposed to do before having someone submit to a breathalyzer, such as waiting for a period of time to be sure the results are correct. However, there still can be a chance of false positives. Unfortunately, the most accurate way to determine someone’s true BAC is to have them submit to a blood test.
In Unger’s case, unfortunately, it seems unlikely that his .08 was the result of a false positive as much as it was a result of him actually drinking. He has neither confirmed nor denied that he was drinking that night and has said he will let the legal system deal with his case.
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