The food was cooked with alcohol and I got a DUI

Question: I actually don’t drink, but I got a DUI in Alpharetta, Georgia, on Friday night. I can’t believe it happened to me. I think it was because I was eating foods at a friend’s house that were made with alcohol. I just figured that the alcohol was burned off when the food was cooked.

I ate some of the dark beer chili and some penne a la vodka. My buddy’s a great cook and I admit I ate a lot of the food. I only drank soda and water during our visit. I am a recovering alcoholic and I had my last drink almost 20 years ago before rehab.

I can’t really say I felt drunk, because if I did I wouldn’t have tried to drive home with my wife and daughter in the car. I got stopped because I forgot to turn on my headlights. It’s a new car and I just forgot to turn them on.

When the Alpharetta cop stopped me I didn’t know why he pulled me over and I guess I looked pretty stupid. When he asked if I’d been drinking I said no, but he said my eyes were red. I told him I have allergies, but I guess he was suspicious. I took the field sobriety tests and cooperated with him. I took a breath test next to my car and he arrested me.

At the Alpharetta jail I took another breath test and I actually got a .104. I know that’s over the limit, because I did some research online. I can’t believe that I got drunk and I don’t know how that happened. I think it was from the food at my friend’s house but I thought that the alcohol burns off when you cook the food. Should I really have a DUI?

L.C. in Cumming, GA

Answer: That’s a great question that is rarely asked. Interestingly, new research has shown not all of the alcohol is burned off when food made with alcohol is cooked. In fact, a good amount of alcohol can sometimes still be found in the food.

There have been some interesting articles and videos of people who eat food that has been cooked with alcohol. Many of these people register an elevated blood alcohol concentration when tested after eating. Some of them are clearly intoxicated and when given a breathalyzer test score well over the standard intoxication level of .08.

Obviously, this has implications not only for DUI but for people, like you, who are alcoholic and should not be consuming any alcohol.

As a legal matter, however, it doesn’t provide much of a defense because DUI does not require intent. So whether or not you intended to get drunk is irrelevant; it is the fact that you were driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration that violates the law.

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