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Did your breath test get skewed by mouth alcohol?

Breathalyzer devices are not always accurate. A lot of different factors can throw off the accuracy of these machines, like the calibration of the device, how long it's been since the subject drank and the way the test is administered. Another thing that can interfere with breath test accuracy is "mouth alcohol."

Mouth alcohol happens when alcohol gets inside the mouth itself, creating additional alcohol fumes that wouldn't otherwise be in the breath. This can create a false reading that doesn't accurately reflect a driver's actual blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

How does mouth alcohol happen?

Mouth alcohol can happen when a test subject burps after drinking an alcoholic beverage. This is the reason for a required 15-minute observation time. Police need to observe subjects to make sure they don't hiccup, burp or vomit. If police skip this 15-minute period, you might be able to cast doubt on the accuracy of your Breathalyzer test.

Other causes of mouth alcohol could be acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease. These conditions can contaminate your breath and lead to alcohol-like substances being in your mouth. Alcohol-based mouthwash, breath sprays and certain medicines can also render a breath test inaccurate, especially if you used them recently before the test was administered. People with braces and other dental work might have trapped alcohol or food in their mouths that could render a test inaccurate.

Were you charged with a DUI?

Being charged with a DUI does not always end in conviction. Some individuals may be able to fight their intoxicated driving charges in court and/or employ other strategies to try and reduce their punishments in the case of conviction, or get their charges dropped or dismissed.

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Ryan Campbell, PA
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