Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as acid reflux disease or simply as heartburn, can significantly affect a breathalyzer test and may produce a false reading.

Mechanics of Breathalyzer Testing

When a police officer has reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that an individual is driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the officer may do the following:

  • Pull the driver over as part of a routine traffic stop
  • Request that the driver submit to a breathalyzer test in order to determine blood alcohol content
  • Make an arrest if the driver’s blood alcohol content is high enough

A breathalyzer machine uses infrared technology to determine the amount of alcohol on an individual’s breath. More specifically, the breathalyzer machine measures “deep lung air,” which theoretically coincides with the amount of blood in an individual’s bloodstream at a given time.

However, the problem with a breathalyzer machine is that it automatically “assumes” the sample is from “deep lung air,” when in fact, the alcohol sample may have actually come from the stomach, mouth, or throat – and for any myriad of reasons.

The Impact of Acid Reflux Disease on Breathalyzer Testing

Acid reflux occurs when stomach contents (including any alcohol) leak back from the stomach, and up through the esophagus. In other words, an individual with longstanding acid reflux disease may always have alcohol present in the mouth, thereby resulting in a false breathalyzer reading.

Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg DUI Defense Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

In a DUI case, the prosecution has the burden of proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant (or arrestee), on the other hand, is deemed innocent until proven guilty. An experienced St. Petersburg DUI defense lawyer can analyze all of the facts and circumstances of your case and help you to assemble the necessary evidence and defenses – including those defenses necessary to combat a false breathalyzer test or malfunctioning breathalyzer machine. You should feel free to contact the experienced St. Petersburg DUI defense lawyers at Khonsari Law Group today at 727-269-5300, or contact us online.

1http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gerd/basics/definition/con-20025201