Airbag Deployment with Blood in the Mouth

Deployment of air bags frequently cause injury to the face and mouth. There is frequently blood in the mouth. One must consider the effect of this on any subsequent evidentiary breath testing in that blood in the oral cavity, as well as, swelling and inflammation, and the concomitant rise in temperature provides a source of contamination of the breath specimen.

The increased blood flow that results in the swelling includes additional alcohol being brought into the area. The increased temperature will increase the amount of alcohol that is imparted to the breath specimen as it passes over the area. These two factors will lead to an erroneous elevation on evidentiary breath testing.

A violation of evidentiary breath testing procedure would occur because the blood, in such a case, would be a foreign substance in the mouth and the procedure requires that no foreign substances be present in the oral cavity at the time of the provision of a breath specimen for evidentiary breath testing.

Consequently, the breath specimen cannot be relied upon as an indication of your client’s true blood alcohol level because of the following.

  1. The presence of a foreign substance in the mouth and the procedural violation that results.
  2. The foreign substance in the mouth, specifically blood, contains alcohol which will contaminate the specimen.
  3. The swelling consequently brings additional blood to the oral cavity which can be imparted to the specimen.
  4. The increased temperature resulting from the inflammatory response.

{Observations and Breath test}