A tiny bit of mouth alcohol can spike a breathalyzer

mouth alcohol

At Acumen Law Corporation, we have always been of the perspective that BC’s Immediate Roadside Prohibition DUI program is flawed. A big part of the reason comes down to reliance on supposedly accurate Approved Screening Devices, or breathalyzers, to determine whether someone may be impaired by alcohol. This week, we wanted to show you how just a tiny bit of mouth alcohol can spike a breathalyzer reading. By mouth alcohol, we mean that if, for some reason, you swished your mouth with an alcohol-based mouthwash or just had a small sip of vodka at the bar before being asked to provide a breath sample, your results will be much higher than your blood alcohol would suggest.

In other words, the breathalyzer would determine that you’re wasted, even if the actual blood alcohol content in your body was far below any penalty level. Acumen lawyer Kyla Lee demonstrates:

In the name of removing drunk drivers from the roads, BC police rely on breathalyzers. As we demonstrated, these devices are hardly as reliable as the government wants you to believe. Clearly, a tiny bit of mouth alcohol can spike a breathalyzer.

This is why we routinely request and obtain access to records from RCMP detachments for breathalyzer maintenance all around BC. Doing this gives us an idea of whether the breathalyzers are calibrated when they should be, lets us look at the service records and examine for any faulty maintenance, to make sure the machines police use to determine sobriety are working properly.

But as you can see, even when a machine is functioning properly, there are significant limitations to its accuracy in determining whether a driver is impaired. Unfortunately, the law allows police to use these approved screening devices, knowing full well that even the presence of a few drops of mouth alcohol can spike a breathalyzer reading from a legal level of alcohol behind the wheel, to a criminal one.

If you have been given an Immediate Roadside Prohibition DUI in British Columbia, and felt you were on the receiving end of a faulty breath sample reading, give us a call. Acumen Law Corporation trains its lawyers on the same approved screening devices police use, so we know their technology, and we know their limitations. Let us help. 604-685-8889.

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