What Is It Meant By Residual Mouth Alcohol?

Author: Don Pioletti Posted on: . Filed in: DUI.

If you are charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol in Illinois, you are facing serious penalties if you are convicted. Before you can be convicted of DUI in Illinois, the state must prove that you had a BAC of .08 or above while you were operating a vehicle. According to Illinois DUI laws, having a BAC of .08 or above makes you legally impaired to operate a vehicle.

The only way to determine a person’s blood alcohol content accurately is through a chemical test such as a breathalyzer or a blood test. Illinois law enforcement agencies use a breath test to register a driver’s BAC after a DUI arrest. Unfortunately, issues such as residual mouth alcohol call the accuracy of breath tests into question.

What is Residual Mouth Alcohol?

Residual mouth alcohol can cause a higher reading on a breathalyzer than the person’s true blood alcohol content. Residual mouth alcohol is a vapor that occurs when alcohol is reintroduced into the mouth immediately prior to the person taking a breathalyzer test. During the 20 minutes prior to the breath test, if the person burps or vomits, the alcohol vapors from the stomach can be reintroduced into the mouth. This is especially true if the person has GERD (Gastroesphageal Reflux Disease). Another source of residual mouth alcohol is from a person’s dental work. Mouth alcohol can be trapped in a person’s dentures or bridges. These dental appliances should be removed before blowing into a breathalyzer.

When the person blows into the breathalyzer machine, the alcohol vapors can cause the reading to be falsely elevated. The person’s actual BAC could be below .08 but the breathalyzer machine will register a higher BAC level. In order to prevent residual mouth alcohol from causing the breathalyzer to register a falsely elevated reading, the person should be observed for 20 minutes to ensure that he or she does not burp, vomit, or regurgitate.

Even though the state amended the Illinois Administrative Code to remove “regurgitation,” an experienced DUI attorney can still make a valid argument that GERD and other conditions cause residual mouth alcohol to provide false readings on a breathalyzer. Because you may have a valid legal reason for challenging a breath test, you need to discuss your legal options with an experienced DUI attorney prior to making any decisions. Your best chance of defeating an Illinois DUI charge is by hiring an experienced lawyer to protect your rights and to argue your case.

Contact Our Office for a Consultation with an Experienced Illinois DUI Attorney

The DUI lawyers of Pioletti & Pioletti represent individuals who need help with a drunk driving charge. We assist clients throughout McLean, Woodford, Tazewell, and Peoria counties by providing compassionate, competent legal services. Contact our office at 309-938-4838 to schedule your free consultation.

When you need the assistance of an experienced DUI attorney in central Illinois, call Pioletti & Pioletti. We are dedicated to providing our clients with exceptional service and support.

Don Pioletti

Don Pioletti

Don B. Pioletti, Jr. was born on August 2, 1946 in Washington, Illinois. He graduated from Eureka High School and received a Bachelor’s Degree from Eureka College in 1970. He served in the Army during the Vietnam War and then graduated from George Mason University Law School in 1976. He served as an Assistant Illinois Attorney General and as an Assistant State’s Attorney. From 1990 until July of 2014 he served as the Woodford County Chief Public Defense Attorney.
Don Pioletti