If you have been charged with driving under the influence, or DUI, in Nebraska, chances are good that you submitted to a breath test during your arrest. The results of that breath test will likely be used against you should you decide to take your case to trial. Though people often think of breath test results as being accurate and foolproof evidence of intoxication, the trust is that there is a margin of error in all breath test results. That margin of error can increase significantly if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. You may be asking “ Is GERD a defense to a breath test result? ” The answer is that it can be a defense.
To understand how GERD works as a defense to breath test results you first need to understand how alcohol travels through your body and then how a breath test machine works. When you consume alcohol, most of the alcohol is absorbed into your stomach and small intestines. Eventually, the alcohol makes its way into your bloodstream. At some point, the alcohol passes through your lungs where a small amount of it winds up in your exhaled breath. A breath test machine, therefore, works by testing a sample of your exhaled breath. By determining the amount of alcohol in an exhaled breath the machine can then convert that into the level of alcohol that should be found in your bloodstream. The problem is that there are a number of factors that can impact how much alcohol is found in an exhaled breath. GERD is one of those factors.
GERD is a medical condition that is essentially a like having a severe case of heartburn or acid reflux. An individual with GERD will frequently have stomach acid that flows backward into the esophagus and sometimes all the way back into the individual’s mouth. If you suffer from GERD and have recently consumed alcohol, your breath test results could show a false result because the amount of alcohol caught in the breath sample is not accurate. Along with the alcohol that everyone naturally exhales as a result of the alcohol that passes through your lungs, a GERD suffer may also have stomach alcohol in his or her mouth at the time the test is given. This can cause the test results to be significantly higher than they should be.
If you suffer from GERD, and you have recently been charged with a Nebraska DUI, make sure to discuss how GERD may have affected your chemical test results with the Omaha, Nebraska law office of Petersen Law Office. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call us at 402-513-2180 to discuss your defense.