Breath tests are one of the most common pieces of evidence used in
DUI cases. However, it is also one of the most unreliable.
Mouth alcohol is considered a factor which can throw off a breast test.
It occurs when a small amount of alcohol remains in the mouth or throat,
altering the chemicals in your breath when blowing into a breathalyzer
device. Breath tests rely on the amount of alcohol particles in your breath
as you breathe out.
The most common sources of mouth alcohol include:
Burping – Burps result in small amounts of alcohol being thrown back into
the mouth. Due to this reason, law enforcement officers are required to
perform a 15-minute “observation period” before administering
the breath test in order to watch that you do not burp, hiccup, or vomit.
Mouthwash – Mouthwash consists of alcohol. Many people use it to cover up the
“smell” of alcohol on their breath. However, residue could
stay in your mouth and disrupt the breath test.
Heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD – Reflux or heartburn creates mouth alcohol since it causes the
stomach contents to flow back into the throat and contaminate your breath.
Dental work – Those with braces, dentures, or any other form of orthodontics
can get food or liquid trapped in these devices.
Medicines – Medicines such as cough syrup contain alcohol. Due to their thickness
and their syrup-based consistency, they can leave residue in the mouth.
Breath spray – Some breath sprays have the similar effect as mouth wash.
The best way to determine whether or not mouth alcohol is a valid defense
in your case is to speak with an experienced DUI attorney.
If you have been arrested for a DUI,
contact our Chicago criminal defense lawyer at the
Law Office of Steven Fine for a
free consultation today.