The police stopped you for suspected DUI. While you agreed to take the breathalyzer, you were so nervous that you accidentally bit your tongue. You could even taste the blood in your mouth. The breathalyzer registered over the legal limit, but you knew you didn’t have that much to drink. Is the breath test reliable?

The answer is maybe not.

Before giving you a breathalyzer test, the officer must wait 20 minutes and must check the inside of your mouth for foreign substances before and after that period. Certain substances, such as blood, can lead to an artificially high result.

In People v Ernsting, the court held that the defendant’s breath test was unreliable because of blood in her mouth. The officer had neglected to check her mouth as required. As a result, the court suppressed the breathalyzer and granted the defendant’s petition to rescind the initial suspension of her driver’s license.

If you have been charged with DUI, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Did police follow correct testing procedures? If not, an attorney may be able to challenge the results of your breath or field sobriety tests. Even if the police acted properly and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the court house may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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