Breath Mints Are Evidence of DUI, Says Texas Court
A curiously strong opinion
Use of breath mints can be considered evidence a driver is intoxicated, according to a divided Texas Court of Appeals ruling delivered earlier this month. The three-judge panel made the decision in the case of limousine service driver Robert Richardson who was stopped in Lewisville, Texas on August 25, 2010 while transporting customers from the airport.
Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Fulford was about to issue a speeding ticket to a motorcycle on Interstate 35E when he noticed Richardson's Chevy Tahoe change lanes without signaling, almost hitting the motorcycle. Trooper Fulford was concerned primarily about the bad driving, but in the back of his mind he thought it could also be a case of driving under the influence (DUI). Once stopped, there was a mild odor of alcohol in the Tahoe, the passengers denied drinking, and Richardson was nervous. Trooper Fulford told Richardson he would write him a warning for his failure to signal before changing lanes. When he returned from his squad car with a warning notice in hand, Trooper Fulford said he noted an "overwhelming" odor of breath mints.
"Did you just take a breath mint?" Trooper Fulford asked.
When Richardson said yes, he was ordered out of the Tahoe. From there, he was arrested and convicted of DUI.