For many drivers, getting arrested for driving under the influence can seem like the end of the world as they know it. Drivers arrested for DUI in Florida for the first time may assume that nothing can be done to avoid a conviction if they tested positive for a BAC above the legal limit after a DUI stop. While being arrested is certainly a stressful and eye-opening experience, this is a poor assumption to make. If you submitted to a chemical breath test on an Intoxilyzer 8000 — the only breath test machine with results approved to be used as evidence at trial in the state of Florida — there is a possibility that your BAC reading is flawed.
The Intoxilyzer 8000 is an advanced piece of equipment that must be operated by certified individuals. Ultimately, human errors during calibration, maintenance, and following procedures could lead to unreliable results. Here, we’ll explore the most common reasons a breath test can fail.
Improperly Calibrated Machine
Advanced equipment like the Intoxilyzer 8000 requires regular maintenance and proper calibration. The officer who issued your alcohol test must have followed the proper guidelines when administering the test. If he made a mistake, it’s possible that your BAC result is incorrect.
Your DUI lawyer will look into the facts of your case to ensure all procedures were followed properly. From the legitimacy of the traffic stop to the results of your breath test, it’s crucial to confirm that all law enforcement officers involved in your DUI case carried out their duties lawfully. If they didn’t, your lawyer may choose to challenge the Intoxilyzer test results so they won’t work against you in court.
Machine Detects Mouth Alcohol
There are times when police officers investigating a DUI do everything right when they subject the suspect to an Intoxilyzer test and still get false results. Sometimes, the Intoxilyzer 8000 detects mouth alcohol instead of deep lung air, which inflates the suspect’s BAC. Residual mouth alcohol is any alcohol that is present in the mouth or airways. Mouth alcohol has a higher concentration of alcohol than deep lung air, which can contaminate your breath sample.
Mouth alcohol can come from many sources, including:
- Mouth wash
- Cough medicine
- Breath mints
So, using mouthwash, gum or a breath mint before taking a breath test can skew your results.
Having a Health Condition
Acid reflux or gastroesophageal disease (GERD) is a health condition that can produce mouth alcohol, causing an Intoxilyzer to produce untrustworthy results. This health issue is characterized by the return of stomach contents back into the esophagus. If you’ve recently been drinking and experience acid reflux, just one drink could cause symptoms to surface, hurting the results of your breath test. Anyone who gets heartburn while taking a breath test can also be impacted by mouth alcohol.
Belching or Hiccupping During Breath Test
When your body belches or burps during a breath test, it pushes up the contents of the stomach, which are vastly different from deep lung air. Stomach contents can have a higher concentration of alcohol, which can cause a skewed BAC reading. The officer administering your test is supposed to make sure you do not hiccup or belch during the test. If you do, the officer must administer a new test.
Challenge Your Breath Test Results with a DUI Lawyer’s Help
The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel is your source for competent DUI defense in West Palm Beach and surrounding areas. Attorney Brian P. Gabriel has fought DUI charges for more than 25 years and specializes in challenging the Intoxilyzer 8000. He has led the movement to disqualify results from the Intoxilyzer 8000 as evidence due to the myriad issues with the machines and their human operators.