Many drivers who suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) are wrongfully convicted of DUI in California. Here’s why. We see plenty of ads for gas and heartburn relief: Tums, Rolaids, Prilosec, Maalox, and Pepto-Bismo are just a few of the non-prescription products available. Then there are the prescription medications like Nexium. These products work well, but here’s the catch. Many who take these medications never know they may have GERD. If you suffer from GERD, your breath test results will be wrong. In fact, you can actually have an alcohol level as low as 0.03% while the breath test reads 0.13% to 0.15% alcohol level.
Breathalyzers evaluate “alveolar” air, the deepest air from your lungs. The breathalyzer assumes that when you blow into it, the air is directly from your lungs. A person with GERD has alcohol gas constantly flowing from the stomach to the mouth area, so when he or she blows into the breathalyzer, gas from the stomach combines with gas from the lungs, causing a much higher blood alcohol reading. The breathalyzer isn’t made to detect GERD. Thus, many who are innocent of DUI nevertheless show guilty test results. You may not even know you have GERD; because the medications for your indigestion and heartburn relieve your symptoms, you haven’t sought further medical advice.
If you’ve been charged with any DUI, but especially if you take any indigestion or heartburn remedy, you need to speak immediately to a DUI defense attorney. Your DUI lawyer will go over your medical history with you and send you out for medical testing if it’s needed. The test information is then available as evidence at your DUI trial, and it might result in your acquittal. A good DUI defense attorney is familiar with other reasons why breathalyzers tests might be inaccurate. If you are charged with DUI, obtain the services of an experienced DUI lawyer. If you’re not guilty of the charge, an experienced DUI lawyer will find a way to prove your innocence and save you from the time, expense, and grief of a false conviction.