When you violate a traffic law, a police officer can pull you over and cite you for the violation. During the stop, the officer may have probable cause to ask you to submit to a breathalyzer test. If the results of the breathalyzer test imply that you have been drinking alcohol, you can be arrested and charged with a DUI (driving while under the influence). If you are convicted of a DUI, this can have a significant effect on your life and your future opportunities.
At the Pack Law Group, our Virginia DUI attorneys have focused on helping clients defend themselves against DUI charges over the years. While there are a number of defenses that may work for you depending upon the circumstances of your charges, one type of defense that is very viable is the GERD/acid reflux defense. Here’s what you need to know:
What Are GERD and Acid Reflux?
GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a type of chronic digestive condition that is characterized by stomach acid or stomach content flowing back up through the esophagus. The stomach acid/stomach content is called reflux, which then irritates the lining of the esophagus, as explained by the Mayo Clinic.
Acid reflux and GERD are not the same thing, although they are closely related. While acid reflux is also characterized by stomach acid making its way back up through the esophagus, GERD is a more serious form of the condition. Acid reflux is occasional, and is often triggered by certain foods; the symptoms of GERD occur more frequently, and the condition can also include vomiting, trouble swallowing, and constant coughing.
What Is the Relationship Between a DUI and GERD/Acid Reflux?
As stated above, one thing that can help an officer make an arrest, and can help the prosecution secure a conviction, are the results of a breathalyzer test. However, medical conditions like GERD and acid reflux can lead to an inaccurate breathalyzer test result.
In order to understand why this happens, it is important to know how breathalyzers work. Breathalyzers, as their name implies, only measure the percentage of alcohol that is found in your breath, not your blood and body as a whole.
This can be a problem for someone with GERD or acid reflux disease, especially for someone who has had a drink or two, but not nearly enough to reach or surpass the legal limit for drinking and driving. Because GERD and acid reflux cause stomach acid or stomach content to flow back into the esophagus and the mouth, mouth alcohol content can lead to a breathalyzer test measuring overall alcohol content as much higher than the person actually consumed. As such, a person may blow a percentage over the legal limit of .08 percent, even if their BAC is really much lower, such as .05 percent.
How Our Lawyers Can Use Your Medical Condition as a Defense to a DUI Charge
If you suffer from GERD or acid reflux and experienced a flare up right before you were asked to blow into a breathalyzer, there is a very good possibility that your condition negatively affected the results of your breathalyzer test. At the Pack Law Group, our Virginia DUI Attorneys strongly believe that a person should never be convicted on faulty evidence, which is why we will work diligently to have the results of your breathalyzer test dismissed if you do indeed suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder. In order to do this, we will not only obtain the results of your breathalyzer and any other forms of evidence that provide proof of how much/how little you had to drink before operating your vehicle, but we will also call on your doctor to provide testimony of your condition. We can also hire medical experts who can testify regarding the relationship between a higher breathalyzer BAC reading and gastroesophageal reflux disease/acid reflux.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
If you want to learn more about how to build a defense to a DUI and what your options are after being charged with a DUI in Virginia, do not hesitate to contact our law firm. We are professionally trained to represent your best interests during a Virginia DUI case, and know how to fight aggressively to have charges against you dropped or reduced. For a strong legal defense for your Virginia DUI that you can count on, contact the knowledgeable Virginia DUI attorneys at Pack Law Group today to schedule your initial consultation. We can be reached at (540) 586-7225.