An Overview of EtG Tests – What are they and how do they work?

An EtG test is used in a lot of courts to determine if people have consumed alcohol. Instead of measuring bodily alcohol content, the EtG measures for alcohol metabolites that can remain in a person’s system for days. How does the EtG work? Is it accurate? Can it be wrong?

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EtG Tests Can Measure for Alcohol Consumption for 3 to 5 Days

Ethyl Glucuronide is produced by drinking alcohol. It remains in a person’s urine for as long as 5 days. Court and probation departments routinely utilize the EtG test to determine if people are drinking alcohol in violation of a court order. It is considered a reliable test by most courts and probation departments. However, this is not necessarily true.

What about a false positive?

It is possible to get a false positive from the environment. Things like hand sanitizers, cleaning products, beauty products, and certain food and beverages can affect a test. There have been studies on the accuracy of the EtG test, and it has been found that positive tests have happened in test subjects that had not consumed alcohol. The studies had minimal test participants and did not consider any physical ailments or attributes, such as weight, height, age, or disease. In fact, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has cautioned that the test is “scientifically unsupportable as the sole basis for legal or disciplinary action” because the highly sensitive tests “are not able to distinguish between alcohol absorbed into the body from exposure to many common commercial and household products containing alcohol and from the actual consumption of alcohol.” The Role of Biomarkers in the Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders, Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory, Volume 5, Issue 4, 2006.

The courts and probation departments LOVE this test and make decisions every day that affect a person’s future and freedom based on the results. It is clear, based on the studies, that the results are far from completely reliable. There is no way to tell if the positive test is from the actual consumption of alcohol or dying your hair.

Inaccurate EtG Test Results

When a court orders you to do alcohol or drug testing while on bond or as part of a sentence, it is essential that you do it. While it is important to do what you are ordered, the testing process is not entirely reliable. There are false positives. However, mistakes do happen and so do relapses. If you are facing a bond or probation violation because of a positive EtG, or any other testing method, it is vital that you have the best legal team available. A violation of bond or probation can result in incarceration.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Michigan criminal defense attorneys that focus on helping people with bond and probation violations because of positive tests.

The law firm of LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has a well-deserved reputation of success in handling cases where people face bond or probation violations due to a positive EtG test or another test. Our attorneys have decades of experience in courtrooms nationwide, helping people facing possible penalties for testing positive. Our firm has relationships with members of the scientific community that can serve as expert witnesses, if necessary. Our firm also has relationships with mental health and substance abuse treatment providers that can help, again, if necessary. 

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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