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 alcohol metabolites that can remain in a person’s system for days. How does the EtG work? Is it accurate?

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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 five (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. Hand sanitizers, cleaning products, beauty products, and certain foods 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 who had not consumed alcohol. The studies had minimal test participants and did not consider physical ailments or attributes such as weight, height, age, or disease. 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 judges and probation departments often rely on EtG tests and make daily decisions that affect a person’s future and freedom based on the results. Based on the studies, it is clear 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.

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“If I missed a breath test, should I take an EtG?”

Taking a voluntary EtG (Ethyl Glucuronide) test after missing a scheduled breath test during pretrial release can be a proactive measure to show adherence to the terms of your bond. However, it’s vital to consult with your attorney first. They can advise on whether this action aligns with your legal strategy and the bond conditions. Your attorney can also assist in communicating this proactive step to the court or bond supervising authority, potentially mitigating any negative implications of the missed test. This approach demonstrates responsibility and commitment to the conditions of your release.

Frequently Asked EtG Questions and Answers

What is an EtG test? It’s a test that detects Ethyl Glucuronide, a byproduct of alcohol metabolism.

How long after alcohol consumption can EtG be detected? EtG can be detected up to 80 hours after consumption.

What are the differences between EtG tests and standard alcohol tests? EtG tests have a longer detection period for alcohol consumption than standard tests.

Can an EtG test distinguish between alcohol consumption and exposure to alcohol in products like mouthwash? It’s sensitive but may not always differentiate between actual consumption and exposure to alcohol in products.

What factors can affect the accuracy of an EtG test? Factors like the amount of alcohol consumed, individual metabolism, and test sensitivity.

How reliable are EtG tests? Generally reliable but not infallible, particularly in legal contexts.

Are there any substances or conditions that can cause false positives in EtG testing? Some hand sanitizers, cleaning products, and certain foods might cause false positives.

How is an EtG test administered and processed? It’s usually a urine test.

What are the legal implications of a positive EtG test for someone on probation or undergoing court-mandated testing? Positive EtG results can have severe implications in probation or court-mandated scenarios.

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Michigan criminal defense attorneys who 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 violations and probation violations due to a positive EtG test or false positive on 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 for a free consultation today! We will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and work with you to develop a winning strategy.

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

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