Maryland DUI Breath Test Errors

During a DUI stop, it is common for police officers to recommend that individuals take a breathalyzer test, in order to gauge their blood alcohol content and sobriety. The results of that test are often used by the prosecution to build a case against the individual. However, many people do not know that breath test errors sometimes occur, skewing the results of a test and impacting someone’s life. In the hands of a capable attorney, these breath test errors can become a part of your defense strategy. If you have been charged with a DUI and you want to know more about Maryland DUI defense breath test errors, speak with a qualified DUI attorney that could advocate for you.

Breath Test Procedure

The breath test itself is important. The observation of the individual is very explicit. There has to be 20-minute observation window just to make sure a person has not thrown up, that they are not smoking a cigarette, and that their mouth is clean. They have to make sure that a person is physically okay to take the test and they also have to wait 20 minutes, but they have to get it done within two hours.

Furthermore, the breath test has to be administered properly in order to avoid Maryland DUI defense breath test errors. A person has an absolute right to refuse as well, but if they are going to accept the test and do it, it has to be done in a station or barrack, in front of an intoxilyzer – the UC/IRII machine, which is built in the state Maryland and used across the state. Of course, the device has to be functioning properly. Most of the information is entered by an individual; the computer sets the test up itself. But there are a variety of problems with regards to the actual truth of the reading. There are designs and arguments that the alcohol content could be as much as 20% to 25% higher than it is actually showing.

How Breath Temperature Affects Test Results

The temperature of someone’s breath and/or body can result in Maryland DUI defense breath test errors. If somebody’s body temperature is exceptionally high and they’re probably sick, that could it impact the level. The fever elevations are usually six percent as compared to the others, and that’s per degree.

Mouthwash Contributes to False Positives

Mouthwash has alcohol or an alcohol-substitute in it that can create a false positive. Ideally, a person is not swishing mouthwash in the car when they get pulled over. If they are, it is going to be a problem. If a person even uses Chloraseptic spray to numb their throat because they are sick, that can impede the accuracy of a test.It is a problem when someone has recently taken cough syrup or something like that. Even the non-drowsy ones can still create issues in a person’s system, just as if they have even one drink, the impact of the drink sticks around a lot longer. Also, if a person has dentures or any type of adhesive bonds in their mouth, the adhesive that they have in there could contain something which has an effect on the blood alcohol in their system.

Physiological and Oral Conditions That Could Impact Test Results

There have been some studies to show that it can have a general impact, most of them at least with regards to inaccurate readings coming from people who have severe heartburn or liver disease, are diabetic, have issues in their esophagus with regards to getting enough breath out there, were previously chewing gum or imbibing cough syrup, have residue in their mouth, or have thrown up recently.


The biggest condition that could result in Maryland DUI defense breath test errors is called GERD, which is short for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. It can cause a person to regurgitate contents into their stomach. This is similar to heartburn. In DUI breath test situations, the acidity of a stomach acid comes up through him or her and results in belches because there are some issues in a person’s digestive tract. That’s can absolutely impact false positive scores.

If someone has strong documentation of that, it can be argued that because a person’s stomach naturally produces alcohol, the reflux brings it up to their airway. For arguments like that, a person needs good medical history. He or she also needs someone to come in and testify as an expert, can review documents, and can fairly say that this was absolutely a GERD issue.

Gut Fermentation Syndrome

There was a case in New York regarding Auto-brewery syndrome in which the person’s body was literally turning food into alcohol at an exceptionally high fermentation rate. They basically call it gut fermentation syndrome. It’s a rare condition that had been diagnosed prior to her case. The system actually produces alcohol and through the fermentation in that particular person, it sends a high, high count up through the breath alone. With expert testimony, they were able to show that in this particular young lady, there is no way under the circumstances that her BAC should have been anything above 0.05, which is under the legal limit.So, a person has some good legal arguments, though again they are rare. If a person has some medical conditions, they want to really get that info to an attorney very quickly as these are time sensitive things. They need to get their experts lined up, file their medical documentation, and the other things that need to be reviewed.

Information to Share With a Maryland DUI Attorney

A person should provide a DUI lawyer with their medical history. It is important for attorneys to know every detail of what a person has informed the officer very candidly. For example, if the charged individual told the officer that they have GERD and that their condition might impact the results of their tests. Lawyers want to know all of that, especially if this was disclosed or not disclosed so that they have all the information could present a good argument on an individual’s behalf. If an individual has been charged with a DUI and wants to challenge the results of their breath tests, they should consult a knowledgeable DUI attorney that could use Maryland DUI defense breath test errors to build their case.