GERDs DUI Defense

January 3, 2024 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
GERDs DUI Defense

GERDs is a disorder related to acid reflux where the person affected by it has a backward flow of the stomach's contents into their esophagus. GERD stands for Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disorder. GERD is more than just occasionally experiencing heartburn, and patients who truly suffer from the diagnosis will be treated by a physician and take medication, perhaps daily, to deal with the problem.

The extent to which individuals suffer from the disorder more than likely leads to surgery to address the problem. It is estimated about 7-10% of the population in the United States suffers from GERD to some extent. Drinking alcohol, smoking, and eating spicy foods have been known to intensify the symptoms of GERD.

The GERD DUI defense is nothing more than a mouth-alcohol defense. The defendant will claim he or she suffers from GERD and that the blood alcohol content or BAC as measured by the Draeger (breathalyzer) was inflated and, therefore, not an accurate representation of their actual BAC.

They will claim that the BAC was inflated because the GERD caused alcohol from the stomach to flow up the esophagus and into the mouth, creating mouth alcohol, which furthermore causes a flawed outcome. As a result, makers of breathalyzers have upped their technology to be able to track when the test is affected by GERDs, just in case it actually is a probable chance. However, until this machine is used widely by all police personnel, there is still a possibility that a GERD can affect a BAC test.

GERD Claims

When a GERD sufferer provides a breath sample for a DUI test, the breath provided is not just from their lungs, just as all breath test machines assume. The air provided is actually alcohol-saturated mouth air, alcohol-drenched esophageal air, and deep lung air or alveolar air. The emission of such alcohol-saturated air is often exacerbated by stress, such as being arrested and eating spicy foods. As a result, the BAC reading from someone diagnosed with GERD may be ruled meaningless, as it may not be a reading of one's blood alcohol level at all.

Even a very small amount of alcohol in one's throat, mouth, or esophagus can have a huge impact on the machine's measurements. Therefore, GERD is relevant in evaluating the reliability of a breath sample because the alveolar air sample collected from a person with GERD will have this contamination from the stomach, fostering a vastly higher concentration of alcohol than actually feasible, making the BAC artificially inflated.

Continually, there is a requirement for officers to wait about 15 minutes before performing the standard field sobriety test and observing to make sure that there aren't any extenuating circumstances. The subject must be observed for a minimum period of 15 minutes, also known as the Deprivation Period, to be certain the driver has not ingested alcoholic beverages or other fluids, regurgitated, vomited, eaten, smoked, or been allowed to place anything in his or her mouth. Some say that the GERDs condition makes it impossible for a Deprivation Period to be effective due to the subject's inability to cut off the effects of the condition.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

Nonetheless, the pondering of whether GERDs is a reasonable defense depending on your health and history is something that you may consider only if you have been medically diagnosed. People who use this defense without a physician's proof are likely to be in murky water when it comes to court.

Therefore, if you or anyone you know has been in a drunk driving accident or a victim of a drunk driver, you should be ready and willing to enforce any possible remedy you may have. There's no reason for anyone to drink and drive, and there is also no reason to be held liable if you are medically diagnosed with GERDs.

In either case, let the attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, seek the best option for you. Schedule a free consultation and evaluation to ensure the proper measures are being taken. Whether you are a victim of a false GERD claim or an alleged defendant with GERD, we will stand by you. Call (727) 451-6900 today.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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