Have you been arrested for DUI due to a failed breath test? Just because BAC reading may have been over the legal limit, doesn’t necessarily mean that those numbers are accurate.
Although it is a fairly rare, the “mouth alcohol” defense is highly effective. This type of defense argues that the breath sample used to measure one’s BAC is unreliable as a measurement of one’s alcohol content in his or her blood because the defendant’s mouth was saturated with alcohol, resulting in an artificially high BAC, and not the defendant’s actual BAC.
It is imperative to understand that breath tests do not actually measure the amount of alcohol present in an individual’s blood. What it does is make an approximation of your BAC by measuring the amount of alcohol in your lungs, which is then converted into a blood-to-alcohol ratio.
When you drink alcohol, it enters the body through the mouth and travels through your gastrointestinal tract. Although the majority of the alcohol is absorbed into your body in the small intestines, the mouth also absorbs some alcohol, which can affect a breath test.
What is unknown to many is the fact that there are many other causes of mouth alcohol not related to consuming alcoholic beverages, such as:
- Medical conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux and heartburn.
- Medicines containing alcohol (such as Nyquil or Tylenol)
- Mouthwashes or breath sprays containing alcohol
- Chewing tobacco
- Dental work such as dentures that traps food or even alcohol
- Food particles soaked in alcohol that are stuck one’s teeth
The presence of any of these factors could mean that alcohol found in the mouth is not representative of the amount of alcohol that is actually in your blood. This, in turn, means that you can challenge the inaccurate results of your breath test and use the “mouth alcohol” defense to fight your DUI charges.