Breath Test with Blood in the Mouth

Dr. Ronald Henson has shared the following observations about breath testing of individuals who have blood in their mouths, usually following a traffic accident.

If blood is found in the mouth of an individual, medical treatment should be given first, and then a blood-alcohol analysis test should be requested. In many cases, a defendant may have been involved in an accident, and blood will be evident in the mouth from loose teeth, a cut lip, or other lacerations and abrasions. Bleeding of the gums and loose teeth may also be symptoms of gum disease.

Focusing on Henry’s Law, if alcohol molecules were introduced from the bottom part of the simulator into the outlet, equilibrium would no longer be established. In fact, there would be a higher concentration of alcohol molecules at the breath outlet/inlet tube than normal. Thus, a high reading would occur.

Although there is not a published decision on this issue, there is an appellate court decision “not to be published.” In People v. Gray, No. 3-93-0077, Rule 23, slip op. at 4 (3d Dist. 1993), William Brey, retired chief of the former Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Alcohol and Substance Testing, testified, “any foreign substance in the mouth, including blood, required a urine or blood test instead of a breathalyzer test.”

Ronald E. Henson, Ph.D.

P.O. Box 10706

Peoria, IL. 61612-0706

(309) 360-5614

Written by Allen Trapp who is board certified by the National College for DUI Defense and the author of Georgia DUI Survival Guide Visit Website

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