For years Minnesota law enforcement has been aware that the Intoxiliyzer 5000 machine (Minnesota’s breath test machine) produces inaccurate test results under certain circumstances. This breath test machine is susceptible to contaminates (substances other than breath alcohol that the machine tests as breath alcohol).
Of serious concern are DWI suspects who suffer from Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (G.E.R.D.), commonly referred to as acid reflux or heart burn. Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve separating the esophagus and stomach) does not close properly, allowing acid and stomach contents (i.e. alcohol, if the person has been drinking) to regurgitate into the esophagus and mouth. If a G.E.R.D. 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 G.E.R.D. 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 G.E.R.D. episode (regurgitation, 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 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 G.E.R.D. A doctor’s testimony of their diagnosis and treatment will be highly beneficial. In addition, the DWI suspect’s testimony regarding their symptoms of G.E.R.D., their onsets of G.E.R.D. episodes, as well as the physical sensations caused by G.E.R.D. episodes are very helpful. Forensic evidence is necessary to prove that the test may be unreliable due to mouth alcohol contamination.
There are many experts in this area that review the medical records, police reports, statements from witnesses, and the G.E.R.D. suffering DWI suspect when forming an opinion about a specific DWI case.
If you suffer from G.E.R.D., a seasoned DWI defense attorney may be able to prove that your BAC test was inaccurate.