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What Is “Mouth Alcohol”?

Breathalyzer test results are often the bedrock of prosecutors’ DUI cases. Breath test results can be unreliable, partly because of a phenomenon known as “mouth alcohol.” If you are facing a DUI charge, a capable attorney will dispute Breathalyzer test results and may use a mouth-alcohol defense to do so.

Breathalyzer Tests Do Not Always Detect the Intended Types of Alcohol

When they administer an alcohol breath test, law enforcement officers attempt to gauge someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) by measuring alcohol particles in the breath. When a police officer takes this measurement, they attribute all alcohol in the breath to the consumption of alcoholic beverages. 

However, alcohol particles that have no relation to alcoholic beverages can also affect Breathalyzer results. A study published by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) found that two commonly-used Breathalyzers registered readings in subjects who:

  • Ate chocolates made with alcohol
  • Consumed parapharmaceuticals containing alcohol


These examples illustrate how alcohol particles in one’s breath may not always result from consuming alcoholic beverages. Nevertheless, someone can face a DUI charge if residual alcohol particles (mouth alcohol) distort the results of a breath alcohol test.

Prosecutors Admit That Mouth Alcohol Can Distort Breathalyzer Results

The American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI) (p.14) explains that ingesting or having certain foods, tobacco products, inhalers, gums, or other products in one’s mouth could affect the results of a Breathalyzer test. The APRI also notes that gastroesophageal reflux could cause belching that distorts a breath test result.

Because Breathalyzers have proven unable to consistently detect how many alcoholic beverages a motorist has consumed (or if they’ve drunk any alcohol at all), a competent attorney will cast doubt on the integrity of Breathalyzer test results. 

Call Razumich & Associates Today for a Capable DUI Defense

If you or a loved one face a charge of driving under the influence in Indianapolis, we will explore all possible defenses. We’ll seek a dismissal or reduction of your charges, working to minimize reputational harm and preserve your future. 

Contact Razumich & Associates online or call us today at 317-449-8661 for a consultation.

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