Austin TX DWI Lawyers
Mouth Alcohol and Breathalyzer Results
Having breathalyzer test results used against you in court can be a daunting experience. The foreign –to the average person – scientific concepts at work in these devices seem like an insurmountable obstacle in defending a DWI charge in Austin. In reality, however, breathalyzers are sophisticated but not foolproof. They are, in truth, highly sensitive instruments which can be affected by any number of biological or environmental factors.
It is a well documented fact that trace amounts of alcohol in the mouth of someone taking a breathalyzer test can cause the machine to significantly overestimate the individual’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). In some cases, breathalyzers have informed people – perfectly healthy people – that their BAC was well above lethal levels.
The problem lies in how the body handles alcohol and how the breathalyzer works. When a person consumes alcohol, it is gradually absorbed into the bloodstream and transported throughout the body. At some point, alcohol-laden blood passes through the lungs and across tiny air sacs called alveoli. These alveoli are responsible for exchanging carbon dioxide in the blood for oxygen that is inhaled into the lungs. During this exchange, some of the alcohol evaporates into the air, and is expelled when the person breathes out.
The breathalyzer functions by measuring the alcohol content of the air expelled from the lungs and using a mathematical conversion to determine the amount of alcohol in the blood. However, the machine is calibrated to assume that the only source of alcohol on the breath is from the alveoli in the lungs. If mouth alcohol is present (from breath fresheners, mouthwash, or even certain gastrointestinal disorders like acid reflux), the breathalyzer results will be highly skewed.
If you have been accused of DWI in Austin, all hope is not lost. Even if a breathalyzer is involved, Austin DWI lawyer Ian Inglis has the experience to represent your case effectively in court.