Mouth Alcohol in Georgia DUI Breath Tests
Without question, mouth alcohol is the most powerful and most frequently successful defense to breath test evidence in Georgia DUI breath tests cases. The image depicted below shows an increase in “breath alcohol” concentrations as a result of mouth alcohol. However, the image does not tell how powerful mouth alcohol really is and how much it can potentially affect breath test results. So, let’s look at what the manager of the GBI’s Implied Consent Division says about the potential impact of mouth alcohol of breath alcohol results:
BY MR. SESSIONS:
Q Mr. Tillson, you’ve testified previously regarding an article by a fellow by the name of Wigmore.
Q Okay. Mr. Wigmore did a study on the slope detector inside the breath test machine, correct?
A Yes, he did a study of how reliably the slope detector would actually trigger or identify something as mouth alcohol by flagging it as an invalid sample. He had
about 30 subjects give samples under four different conditions.
Q And part of Mr. Wigmore’s study was about whether or not the slope detector accurately worked, correct?
A Yes. The subjects were providing single subject samples and in these particular cases he had some individuals register – – in fact, one individual registered as high as a .11 and he didn’t have any alcohol in his system. So, he found that it didn’t always flag something as mouth alcohol.
When they looked at replicate samples, he found that – – especially, five minutes apart – – there was a huge drop between the samples, a big difference.
In his other articles he’s also put forth that if you have replicate samples and you actually look at them, that is a sufficient indicator to determine whether mouth alcohol is present.
Q I want to be clear. The machine that Mr. Woodfield was tested on, Mr. Wigmore had a result of a .11 when a person had a true BAC of a .0?
A Approximately, a .0, yes. In some of the samples they swallowed small amounts of alcohol, so it would be a negligible amount. This may have been a rinsing scenario and actually spit, that may have been the case, but, yes, it was a .11.
So, if you are not sure about whether mouth alcohol can have a real effect upon breath test results, you don’t need to take my word for it. Simply look to what the GBI’s expert has testified to: a person with a true BAC of .000 can register a reading as high as .11 based upon the presence of mouth alcohol.
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