For years, Minnesota law enforcement has been aware that the Intoxiliyzer 5000 machine (Minnesota’s standard breath test machine) produces inaccurate test results under certain circumstances. This breath test machine has been shown to be susceptible to contaminates (substances other than breath alcohol that the machine reads as breath alcohol).
In fact, one specific health condition has been known to throw this breath test machine for a loop. Below, we explore how Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease can complicate a breath test.
GERD And Breath Tests
Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), also commonly referred to as acid reflux or heartburn, is a health condition that affects hundreds of thousands if not millions of Americans on a regular basis. GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve separating the esophagus and stomach) does not close properly, allowing acid and stomach contents like alcohol to regurgitate into the esophagus and mouth. If a GERD sufferer is asked to blow into the Intoxilyzer 5000, the machine may interpret the regurgitated alcohol at a higher level than breath alcohol, resulting in an elevated and inaccurate breath test result.
When a GERD sufferer submits to a breath test, there is a strong likelihood that the machine may produce an inaccurate result. Provided the person’s stomach contains alcohol and the person is experiencing a GERD episode involving regurgitation or heartburn at the time of the test, there is a strong probability that the machine will produce an elevated BAC result. If these circumstances exist, the legitimacy of the breath test is cast in doubt.
Minnesota GERD DUI Attorney
In cases where the breath test’s accuracy is an issue of litigation, the primary piece of evidence is proof that the DWI suspect suffers from GERD. A doctor’s testimony of their diagnosis and treatment will be highly beneficial. In addition, the DWI suspect’s testimony regarding their symptoms of GERD, their onset of episodes, as well as the physical sensations caused by GERD episodes are very helpful. Forensic evidence is necessary to prove that the test may be unreliable due to mouth alcohol contamination, but we can handle these aspects of challenging the legitimacy of the results.
It will not be easy, but if you suffer from heartburn and believe that it may have led to an inaccurate breath test reading during your DUI traffic stop, it is imperative that you reach out to an experienced DUI attorney who understands how GERD can falsify test results. We have a number of medical experts that we consult with regularly who can give credence to your claims, especially if you’ve officially been diagnosed with the condition. So if you want help proving that your BAC test was inaccurate, reach out to Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm at (952) 224-2277 to see how we can help you achieve justice.