Breathalyzer Tests Skewed by Mouth Alcohol

Intelligent and Innovative DUI Attorneys in Bakersfield

The science behind breathalyzer tests requires that the intricate devices be sensitive to the slightest amount of alcohol. Otherwise, it would never be able to get any sort of reading from just a single puff of your breath. The downside of this is that a breathalyzer can be overly sensitive or sensitive to the wrong things, picking up a millionth of an ounce of alcohol in your mouth and presenting that reading as the content in your blood instead.

This is very significant because it is not illegal to have alcohol or alcohol fumes in your stomach or mouth; what the law actually prohibits is a certain amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. When you are drinking, most of the alcohol goes directly into your stomach and then into the liver and intestines where your body's enzymes break down the alcohol, effectively eliminating it from your body. Some of that alcohol escapes the enzymes, however, and diffuses into your bloodstream. This is the alcohol that the breathalyzers are supposed to test, but they often pick up additional alcohol from fumes in your mouth or esophagus or from particles of food lodged in your teeth. These and many other factors can result in an artificially-high reading.

At Campbell Whitten, our Bakersfield DUI lawyers understand that law enforcement and highway patrol officers might not be aware of how misrepresentative a breathalyzer can be in regards to your actual intoxication. Ultimately, this can lead to unjust driving under the influence (DUI) charges and some people just plead guilty to the charges and are sentenced to jail, probation, fines and more - not realizing that they had a winning defense to their case.

If you are ready to stand up for your rights with a team that comes in swinging, contact us today.

Understanding How Mouth Alcohol Can Affect Reported BAC Levels

A breathalyzer aims to only read the alcohol in the microscopic specks of your blood in your breath, but it, of course, cannot do just that with perfect precision. Any remnants of an alcoholic beverage in your mouth can release minuscule droplets that the device will cling onto and falsely read as a high concentration in your system. This means that you could potentially have one drink with your friends, drive them home while being well below the legal limit, and still get arrested due to a breathalyzer reading that claims your BAC is over 0.08%.

Simple actions or activities that can sharply escalate your BAC level due to alcohol present in your mouth include:

  • Swishing a beverage between your teeth
  • Recently consuming food
  • Sneezing
  • Burping
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting

When everything that can tamper with a breathalyzer result is taken into consideration, the results are less-than-reliable.

15-Minute Observation Period

Before administering a breathalyzer test due to suspicion of a DUI, law enforcement officers are required by the California Code of Regulations to go through a 15-minute observation period. During this time, they are supposed to ensure you do not do anything that could throw off their breathalyzer devices, such as any of the aforementioned actions. One issue is that many breathalyzer tests actually take place back at the law enforcement station, meaning the arrestee will likely have been in the backseat of a car for quite some time, making it impossible for the officer to truly observe the person sufficiently.

Call 661.735.1038 Today for a Team That Rises to All Challenges

Your rights and your future are not things that can be taken lightly, and they certainly should not be put into jeopardy due to highly unreliable breathalyzer tests. At Campbell Whitten, we have committed our practice to improving the lives of our clients through powerful and aggressive defense in all manner of DUI cases. When our Bakersfield DUI attorneys work together and see your case from every angle, we are confident that we can give the prosecution a run for their money, fighting for a reduction of the charges, if not a total dismissal.

Want to know what a team that has handled thousands of cases can do for you? Schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation with us today!