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When arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, drivers in California are given two options for testing — a blood test or a breath test. A lot of drivers choose to take a breath test because it is not as invasive and because they don’t have to be subjected to needle pricks. Plus, not only do drivers often prefer this type of test, but law enforcement officers usually encourage them because the breath test can actually be completed at the police station and because it provides almost instant results.
This can be an unfortunate thing, however, because there are various ways that breath tests can be affected by outside factors. For example, if you have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), you could end up with a higher breath reading than what is accurate.
How Does GERD Affect Breathalyzer Readings?
Before you can understand how GERD affects breathalyzer test readings, you must first consider what GERD really is. Basically, this condition involves stomach acid and other contents of the stomach (including alcohol) flowing back up into the esophagus from the stomach rather than staying in the stomach with the esophagus remaining closed.
When a breath test is given, the results are supposed to be based off of deep-lung air that is held close to your body’s blood supply. Generally, this is supposed to provide an accurate result. However, any alcohol that is in your mouth can cause your test results to be elevated.
Of course, your average person would not want to take a breathalyzer test with alcohol still in his or her mouth. If you have GERD and related conditions like acid reflux, however, you may have alcohol in your throat and mouth — which may have been brought up from your stomach due to your condition — without even realizing it. This can throw off the results of your test.
What is Title 17?
Title 17 can actually help law enforcement officers to get more accurate results and can help prevent drivers who are being accused of driving under the influence of being subject to falsely high alcohol readings. With Title 17, police officers are required to observe the accused for 15 minutes prior to administering a breathalyzer test. This is designed to prevent the driver from eating or drinking anything, burping or vomiting, all of which could throw off the results of the test.
This can help someone with GERD who might have been experiencing symptoms upon being pulled over. However, since many cases of GERD are actually undiagnosed or since a person might not realize that he or she is experiencing symptoms at the time of the testing, the test results could still be falsely high.
What Should You Do if You Have GERD and Have Been Charged with a DUI?
If you have GERD and have been charged with a driving under the influence charge, there is a chance that the results of your test are false. This can be a tough situation for you to attempt to beat on your own, however. If you work with a Los Angeles DUI attorney, he or she can work with an expert, who will be responsible for showing evidence that you have GERD or another similar medical condition. An expert can also share information about how your GERD could cause your breath testing results to be incorrect.
If you are facing a driving under the influence charge, it is best not to tackle the situation alone. Instead, contact us to find out more about how our Los Angeles DUI lawyers can assist you with your case.