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False DUI Readings Can be Caused by “Mouth Alcohol”

false dui readings

Is it true that thousands of false DUI readings each year can be caused by “mouth alcohol”? False breathalyzer readings are commonly caused by the existence of “mouth alcohol.” Even after having one or two drinks, the lining of your mouth may still include recordable amounts of alcohol, sometimes enough to register your BAC above the legal limit.

The computer inside a breathalyzer operates on assumption. After analyzing your breath for blood alcohol concentration, it assumes that the breath has come directly from your lungs. A false DUI reading may be possible as the machine is only measuring your breath, it is not an accurate gauge of how much alcohol is in your blood. Using a simple process, the machine calculates the amount of alcohol in the suspect’s breath by measuring the units of alcohol in your blood.

False DUI Readings

The flaw in the process is that the machine cannot determine if the breath sample has come from the lungs or the mouth. Even a trace amount of alcohol in a your throat or mouth can significantly magnify the machine’s perceived calculation of BAC.

Alcohol stays in your mouth and throat up to 20 minutes after consumption. Saliva will rinse it away eventually, but if you’re walking out of a bar after just finishing a drink with a friend, you may very well be subject to arrest for DUI. Mouthwash can also be perceived as alcohol. There are many reasons why a breathalyzer test should not be trusted to give accurate BAC readings.

Furthermore, even the act of belching can cause liquids and gases from the stomach to rise into the soft tissue of the throat and mouth. Officers are required to keep a suspect under observation for at least 15 minutes before administering a breath test.

Acid reflux can also cause false DUI readings from a breathalyzer. Problems with the valve that connects your stomach and throat can lead to liquids and gases to escape into your mouth that will result in false DUI readings.

Dentures can also cause false readings. Alcohol can remained trapped in them for up to 20 minutes. Periodontal disease, which creates pockets in your gums, can trap alcohol for long periods of time which can also cause the breathalyzer to read out a BAC above the legal limit.

If you have been charged with DUI in Mendocino County, Sonoma County, or Lake County California, contact an attorney immediately. Our DUI attorneys at the Santa Rosa law office of Beck Law P.C., are experienced with California DUI laws and can ensure you receive the best possible representation if you have been charged. Contact us through our website or by phone at (707) 576-5175.


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