Last Updated: 08.02.2020

As a current Maryland lawyer and a former prosecutor who has spent hundreds of hours preparing and trying Maryland DUI cases on both the prosecution and defense sides of the table, I regularly see a problem referred to as “disconnect.” DUI Disconnect is when a person performs reasonably well on SFST (Standardized Field Sobriety Tests) but scores an absurdly high breath test.

It is called disconnect because you generally don’t expect someone to perform well on the SFST but have a high BAC.

Disconnect Myths

BAC in Maryland

You're not drunk, yet you blow a .17? Why? Disconnect!

Training materials that Maryland DUI prosecutors use, usually generated by MADD and the National District Attorney’s Association, highlight the fact that the person MUST be a functional alcoholic if the disconnect is present because the breath test machine never lies and is infallible.  Reality is much more disturbing.

Reality of Disconnect of SFST and BAC in Maryland

If you look at recent cases in Washington, DC, Wyoming, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, the hard scientific and statistical evidence actually point to faulty testing equipment and/or procedures for breath test equipment. As discussed in our article here, Maryland DUI breath test equipment is backed by some extremely complex science.

Frankly, it’s beyond the scope of this article and scientists have devoted their entire career to debunking the breath test machines.

Several weeks ago I attended a seminar on Advanced Maryland DUI Defense which was produced by the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney’s Association.  Attorneys were in attendance from as far away as New Jersey, PA, WVa, Virginia, & Wyoming and we spent 8 full hours discussing the science behind breath test equipment (one in particular – the EC/IR II).  Don’t let the people from MADD and the State fool you, there is plenty wrong with breath test equipment.

The Bottom Line on Disconnect Between a BAC and SFST’s

When you and your Maryland Lawyer are piecing together your defense for the case against your Maryland DUI, ask yourself a few things:

  • Do you have GERD?
  • Do you have Diabetes?
  • Are you on a Low carb diet?
  • What is your workplace like?  Are you exposed to VOC’s
  • Do you have COPD?
  • Did you or the police officer giving you a breath test use Hand Sanitizer
  • Do you use Chewing tobacco?
  • Do you wear Dentures?
  • Were you chewing Gum or toothpaste?
  • Was my Breath Test taken around midnight?
  • Do you have asthma or any other breathing problem?
  • Was your operator using the breath test machine correctly?
  • When was the breath test machine last calibrated?
  • When was the breath test machine last checked for accuracy?

This certainly isn’t an exclusive list of things that could cause an incorrect breath test result, but it’s a good start.  If you find yourself charged with a Maryland DUI, don’t take a chance.  Be sure to contact a Maryland lawyer who can find any issue in your case, or else you could be like one of those people in Washington, DC who was falsely convicted of your Maryland DUI.