Orange County DUI Cases: Why Measures to Guard Against Mouth Alcohol Are Ineffective for GERD Sufferers
“Mouth alcohol” refers to the presence of any alcohol in the esophagus or mouth. The presence of even tiny amounts of mouth alcohol during a breath test can lead to a grossly exaggerated reading that is not accurate or reliable. Breath testing machines are designed to work on air from deep in the lungs. A person with GERD has a constant reflux/regurgitation that is continually injecting stomach alcohol into the mouth.
GERD can cause falsely high breath test results when alcohol from the stomach enters the mouth and then is exhaled. If you have been charged with an Orange County DUI, the GERD defense may be available to you if you took a breath test and have been diagnosed with GERD.
The 15-Minute Observation Period
Experienced Orange County DUI lawyers know that breath testing can yield wrong results. One of the principal causes of error in breath alcohol analysis is mouth alcohol. If there is alcohol in your mouth or your stomach when you are taking a breath test, your results will be higher than your actual blood alcohol, perhaps a lot higher. Officers are aware that mouth alcohol may affect the results of your breath test. Therefore, to combat mouth alcohol problems, police officers are required to observe a subject continuously for at least 15 minutes prior to breath testing. During the observation period, the defendant must not have ingested alcoholic beverages or other fluids, regurgitated, vomited, belched, eaten, or smoked. However, regurgitation is not always something that can be seen or heard. Persons suffering from GERD have often learned to live with the condition and do not make belching sounds.
The Slope Detector
Some breath machines have what is called a slope detector, commonly referred to as a “mouth alcohol detector.” This is an electronic circuit designed to detect the presence of mouth alcohol as the breath enters the machine. Mouth alcohol is supposed to abort the test.However, this feature is not present on every breath testing device, and it is by no means a fail-safe feature on the devices that have it. It is designed to detect an intermittent spike of alcohol in the midst of a breath-alcohol test, but it may not abort the test where the mouth alcohol contamination is a steady and consistent contaminant as is likely to be the case with GERD.
Contact Orange County DUI Lawyers
The DUI process can be very complicated. An experienced Orange County DUI attorney is essential to achieve the best outcome for your DUI case. Experienced Orange County DUI attorneys at Coffey and Coffey will determine whether your breath test results are open to challenge. For a free consultation, please contact our dedicated Orange County DUI attorneys at (800) 706-7888 today.