If someone belches, burps, or regurgitates after a DWI stop, the officer is supposed to start the 15-minute observation period over again. The theory is that during 15 minutes, whatever got introduced into the mouth would evaporate or would dissipate, so that it won’t affect the test. This is a dubious conclusion, especially if someone might have some dental appliances, such as dentures, crowns, bridges, or braces, that might hold on to some food particles or other things that can absorb alcohol, and keep that in the mouth for longer than 15 minutes. There is no science that reliably shows that all contaminants introduced into the mouth are gone after 15 minutes. But that’s the theory.
Now, if they don’t abide by that, or if something gets introduced into the mouth or somebody regurgitates or belches and something gets in that might contaminate the sample, then that should mean that the breath test is not admissible in court. We can frequently get a court to rule that the breath test is not admissible or cannot be used against our client because the officer didn’t follow proper procedure or exercise reasonable care.