San Diego DUI Law Center

When alcohol is drank in San Diego, the alcohol in that beverage is diluted by the liquid in the stomach contents immediately after it is swallowed.

For each pint of stomach contents, the weight of the liquid is at most a pound per pint (a pint of liquid drink weighs about a pound).

If a person drank one pint of beer, the alcohol in that beer would be diluted by a pound of water when that drink first entered the stomach.

For a 150 pound man, the amount of water in the body is 2/3, according to Widmark’s equations and work, or for a woman, the percentage of water is 54%.

Assuming a male client, when the alcohol in the beer is fully absorbed by the body, that alcohol is distributed throughout the 100 pounds of water in the body.

Or assuming that there is no digestion of the ethanol, the ethanol in the stomach is 100 times more concentrated than the ethanol in the blood after the body completely absorbs the ethanol.

Critically, because if GERD is present, the ethanol in the stomach contents will be at a much higher concentration than he ethanol in the air coming from the lungs, and will cause the machine to register ethanol at a much higher level than it should.

Just a little regurgitation of gas or small burp will introduce ethanol that is 100 times as concentrated, for that small amount of air in the burp, and will result in a test result that is way too high.

As a body absorbs ethanol, absorption takes place mostly in the small intestines.

Which is why a person who drinks with a meal absorbs ethanol, and thus becomes intoxicated, at a slower rate, and the maximum level of ethanol is lower.

Alcohol consumption with a meal results in less impairment, if any. The ethanol simply remains in the stomach longer.

So when the stomach contents pass to the small intestines from the stomach, the stomach never completely empties. Some of the contents, with ethanol in them, stay in the stomach until the next meal, or the next liquid is consumed. If this were not so, then acid reflux would never occur x hours after a meal, and this is just not the case.

This is true for anyone who suffers from acid reflux. As long as ethanol remains in the stomach, a GERD event – or regurgitation of gas – will contaminate the breath sample. That can be for a number of hours.

Bottom Line: GERD is a big problem for San Diego DUI breath test machines that try to measure how much ethanol is in the human body, because stomach contents are highly concentrated compared to the air coming from the lungs, unless you drink 100 pints of beer and hold all of that in your stomach (which is a physical impossibility). San Diego DUI attorneys need records & expert(s) to try to establish this phenomenon.

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