What Does 'Mouth Alcohol' Mean in DUI Cases?

Mouth AlcoholIn most DUI cases, the driver will be asked to provide a breath sample for analysis. The driver will often be asked to provide a breath sample on the officer’s portable preliminary alcohol sensor (“PAS”) device. The driver will also be given the option of taking a breath test on the Breathalyzer machine following a DUI arrest. In either case, the presence of “mouth alcohol” may affect the results of the breath test and can potentially be raised as a defense in court.

Mouth Alcohol v. Deep Lung Air

Both the PAS device and the Breathalyzer are designed to measure the air from a tester’s deep lung area. This air, known as “alveolar air,” can provide an accurate measure of a defendant’s blood alcohol content at the time of testing. However, the breath test can be affected by alcohol in the defendant’s mouth. The presence of mouth alcohol will distort the driver’s BAC results and will often cause improperly high test results.

When Can Mouth Alcohol Affect Test Results

Before taking a breath test, the driver will be observed for a period of time to ensure that he or she does not eat, drink, burp, regurgitate or do anything else that would cause the presence of mouth alcohol. When taking the breath test, the arrestee will be encouraged by the testing officer to blow deeply in order to ensure that deep lung air is tested. However, certain conditions can lead to higher than normal mouth alcohol levels that can throw off the results of the Breathalyzer test.

If the defendant recently had dental surgery or suffers from certain dental conditions, alcohol consumed may store in dental pits or cavities and can cause mouth alcohol to be present during testing and cause higher than actual BAC results. In addition, the driver may suffer from certain medical conditions that contribute to the presence of mouth alcohol. Drivers who suffer from GERD, a gastrointestinal reflux condition, experience reflux which forces stomach contents, including any alcohol consumed, into the mouth and windpipe. This mouth alcohol can affect breath test results. There are other various medical conditions that can distort the results of DUI breath tests because of mouth alcohol.

“Mouth Alcohol” in a DUI Defense

There are a number of DUI defenses that a defendant can raise in fighting a DUI case and it is critical that the defendant be represented by an experienced and effective DUI attorney when exploring these issues. In some cases, the defense may be able to argue that an elevated BAC was caused by the presence of mouth alcohol, which distorted any subsequent breath test. Keep in mind, “mouth alcohol” is only relevant when dealing with breath tests, as the presence of mouth alcohol would not matter when a blood sample is provided.

The defense may be able to show medical or dental records regarding a condition that would cause the presence of mouth alcohol that could have affected the breath test results. It may be necessary to have expert witnesses describe to a prosecutor or jury why the defendant’s condition would have caused mouth alcohol and what type of effect it would have had on the results of any subsequent breath test. The prosecution may agree to dismiss charges or offer a plea to a reduced DUI charge if presented with this type of evidence.

If you or a loved one have been arrested for DUI, it is crucial that you meet with a skilled and effective DUI lawyer as soon as possible. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Michael Kraut works closely with the area’s top experts to ensure that every avenue of defense is explored.

For more information about DUI and mouth alcohol, and to schedule your free consultation, Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7.

Share |
Client Reviews
★★★★★
He gave me the peace of mind that my DUI case was going to be resolved. He fought for what it was needed and helped me by answering all my questions. Mike is not an average attorney. He’s a very experienced, honest and straightforward person that is there for you!
★★★★★
I hired Attorney Mike Kraut and I'm am so happy and grateful that I did! I was arrested for a DUI because my BAC level was over the .08 limit. I ended up getting a wet and reckless instead of a DUI. I still have to do some classes and I'm on probation, but I do not have a DUI on my record. If you have a DUI hire Attorney Kraut, he definitely knows his stuff!
★★★★★
There aren't enough positive words to write about Mike, but let me be clear that this is the only lawyer worth hiring in Los Angeles. Mike is professional, caring, and an absolute champion at winning in court.
★★★★★
Mike Kraut is not a typical lawyer. He is a straightforward person with a true heart and a sympathetic ear. He is also smart and connected and he cares about the people who seek out his help. He got my son out of a jam. He did it quickly and painlessly. I recommend Mike Kraut to anyone that needs his services.
Thank you Mike for helping my son.
★★★★★
Michael Kraut is a rock star lawyer. I was really happy and satisfied with the results I received from Michael and his team. A few months back I was being accused of a serious felony. Mike gave me sound legal advice and worked diligently to clear my name. Mike was great at always keeping me updated and returning calls. Great, great lawyer I cant say enough about this man!
★★★★★
How can I express how relieved and pleased I am with Michael's professional abilities to have my Felony brought down to a misdameanor to a possible dismissal with deferment. With his care my life has been turned around and cannot say how helpful he's been not only in my case but life. He, himself has changed how I view criminal lawyers. Thank you so much Michael!