If an officer in Jackson, Mississippi, suspects a driver of DUI, they might perform chemical tests. A typical test the officer uses is the Breathalyzer, which uses a breath sample to measure BAC. However, some studies show breathalyzer results are not always reliable, and many factors affect alcohol absorption rates.
Factors that influence alcohol absorption
Standard-sized drinks include 5 ounces of wine, 1.5-ounce hard liquor shot, and 12 ounces of regular beer. Even if people drink the same amount of alcohol as someone else, they absorb it at different rates.
Heavier people have higher water content, which helps them absorb alcohol faster. Men commonly absorb alcohol at faster rates than women, because women have lower amounts of the hormone dehydrogenase. Since alcohol acts as a depressant, the drinker’s mood can influence absorption rates.
A factor that could cause skewed test results
Almost all states set the BAC legal limit at .08, and drivers can get charged with drunk driving at that rate. The BAC limit in Mississippi is .04 for commercial drivers and .02 for underage drivers. However, many factors could cause a Breathalyzer to register unreliable results that can get used as a defense.
Certain health conditions may raise the BAC level, such as diabetes and GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Diabetes causes the body to produce a higher level of acetones, which may confuse the test. GERD forces the stomach contents back into the mouth, including undigested alcohol, possibly causing a false reading.
Some everyday products contain a high concentration of acetones, such as paint, certain medicines, and mouth rinses. Studies have also shown a low-carb diet may also cause the body to make more ketones and acetones.