DUI arrests have been on the rise for the past few years. These kinds of cases can attract severe penalties depending on the extent of your actions while intoxicated or the number of prior DUI arrests. In California, the BAC level of a suspect has a lot to do with a DUI. San Diego DUI Attorney offers credible legal services when anyone in Julian, CA, is charged with a DUI.
Definition of BAC
BAC or blood alcohol content is a measurement of alcohol percentage in the bloodstream of a person. BAC can be used for medical and legal purposes. The BAC level in a person is represented in percentage. The percentage represents the gram of alcohol present in every 100 milliliters of a suspect’s blood.
The higher the percentage, the higher the level of alcohol in the person being tested. A lower percentage number shows that the person has a lesser alcohol content in his or her blood.
Relationship Between BAC and Impairment
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, different BAC levels affect the level of impairment of every suspect. The effect of every BAC level is as follows:
- For a BAC level of 0.02%, the standard drink equivalent for such a BAC level is two alcoholic drinks. The typical effects of such a BAC level are loss of judgment, slight body warmth, altered mood, and relaxation. When it comes to driving, the driver might experience a declined visual function and inability to perform two tasks or divided attention.
- BAC level of 0.05% is equivalent to three alcoholic drinks. The typical effect of such a BAC level includes exaggerated behavior, loss of muscle tone, lowered alertness, impaired judgment, and release of inhibition. When it comes to the effects on driving, a driver might experience a reduced capacity to track moving objects, difficulty in steering, declined response to emergency driving situations, and declined coordination.
- BAC level of 0.08% is equivalent to four alcoholic drinks. The kind of effects that one would experience include declined coordination of the muscles such as speech, vision, balance, hearing, and reaction time, other consequences include impaired judgment, declined self-control, poor reasoning, and memory loss. A driver would probably experience impaired speed control, reduced processing of information, impaired perception, and short-term memory loss.
- BAC level of 0.10% represents four to seven drinks. Typical effects of such a BAC include slurred speech, poor coordination, slowed thinking, and an apparent decline of reaction time. A driver would probably have the incapacity to maintain a proper lane position and apply the brakes appropriately.
- BAC level of 0.15% represents an equivalent of seven alcoholic drinks. The possible effect of such a BAC level includes extensive muscle control, significant loss of balance, and the possibility of vomiting. A driver will experience effects such as significant impairment in the control of a vehicle, poor attention to driving tasks, and loss of auditory or visual processing.
A standard drink is equivalent to 14 grams or 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. Generally, you can find this amount of pure alcohol in the following:
- 12 ounces in beer (5% alcohol content)
- 8 ounces in malt liquor (7% alcoholic content)
- 5 ounces in wine (12% of alcoholic content)
- 5 ounce of 80-proof (40% alcoholic content), typical in liquor or spirits such as whiskey, rum, gin, and vodka
In California, your BAC level can be given in different ways. Typical results include the following:
- For a sober person, the BAC level is 0.0%
- For a legally intoxicated person, the BAC level should average at 0.08%
- For a severely impaired person, the BAC level should average between 0.8 to 0.40%
- A person with a BAC of 0.4% and above is at risk of severe complications and can end up in a coma or death.
Factors that Affect BAC Levels of a Person
Various factors and circumstances can affect the Blood Alcohol Content of a person. These factors are as follows:
Your Quickness in Drinking
If you are an individual who loves drinking faster, there are high chances of getting to a peak BAC level and becoming intoxicated. Ideally, the liver metabolizes alcohol at a standard rate of one drink every hour. Therefore, if you consume more than a drink every hour, the liver will not keep up with the pace and will allow more alcohol to circulate into the bloodstream until the liver can manage to catch up. The more the alcohol content in the blood, the higher the chances of increasing the intoxication level.
The average amount of blood per Kg is 76 cc in men and 66 in women. Men usually have slightly more blood to dilute alcohol compared to women of the same size. Also, they have a higher blood content by the fact that they are more significant in size. This is a result of the muscle tissues that contain considerable water content compared to the fat that is significant in women. On average, men have ten percent of water in their bodies compared to women.
Food Present in the Stomach
An average of twenty percent of alcohol gets absorbed into the bloodstream via the stomach wall, while eighty percent gets absorbed through the small intestine. Therefore, if there is food inside the stomach, alcohol will be absorbed slowly into the bloodstream compared to an empty stomach. When there is food present in the stomach, there is a slower absorption of alcohol, which prevents it from going directly to the small intestine where the majority of alcohol enters into the bloodstream.
The pyloric valve goes into spasms when there is the presence of concentrated alcohol, which traps alcohol into the stomach other than allowing it to the small intestine.
Please note, the kind of food that you eat can also slow or quicken the level of alcohol absorption. Carbohydrates pass through the stomach quickly, which stimulates the absorption of alcohol as it enters the small intestine. However, fatty content foods get absorbed slowly hence their delayed alcoholic absorption effect.
Type and Size of your Drink
Some alcoholic drinks have a reputation for higher alcoholic content compared to others. Drinks such as liquors and spirits have high alcohol content compared with beer or malt. Therefore, there is a likelihood of getting intoxicated at a higher rate if you take spirits compared to a beer.
Also, the kind of mix used can affect the level of intoxication of the drinker. A cocktail of fruit juices and alcoholic drinks would slow down the absorption process compared with a cocktail with carbonated beverages. Carbonated beverages usually speed up the absorption of alcohol via the stomach or the small intestine.
If you have been drinking alcohol for a long time, you probably have developed an alcoholic tolerance. The liver usually becomes efficient in metabolizing alcohol, which allows you to take more alcohol within an hour. Therefore, it would require you to consume more alcohol to produce outward signs of impairment.
If you are taking specific medicines such as aspirin, antidepressants, cough medicine, or tranquilizers, there are chances of amplifying your alcoholic content.
Stress, Fatigue, and Mood
If one is fatigued or under stress, there are chances of experiencing a more pronounced effect of alcohol compared to a relaxed person. Since alcohol works as a depressant, you might become more depressed after drinking.
Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease
Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease (GERD), acid reflux, or heartburn can be a significant cause of high BAC reading. People who experience such conditions usually have their stomach content flow back into their mouths. Therefore, the breathalyzer can read the backwashed content as alcohol, leading to a false BAC reading.
Low Carbohydrate Diet or High Protein
Low-cabs or high protein can also significantly increase your BAC reading. Some of the diets that are known for increasing the BAC results include Whole 30 diet, Zone, South Beach, and Atkins.
Such diets force your body to store fats instead of glucose as your source of energy. Such a situation creates a by-product referred to as ketones, which have the same chemical similarity to acetone. It is hard for a breathalyzer to differentiate acetone and ethyl alcohol, which ends up to false BAC reading.
Hypoglycemia or Diabetes
Diabetes can also elevate the BAC reading during a DUI breath test. The false reading results from ketones that are produced by the liver of a diabetic person. Since ketones have a similar chemical property as alcohol, this might lead to a false BAC reading.
Our Julian DUI attorney is in a position of presenting all the above-stated factors to disapprove of all the DUI allegations filed against you.
How California DUI Officers Measure BAC
In California, BAC is usually measured through a DUI breath or blood test. Both types of tests are considered reliable and acceptable in a court of law.
DUI Breath Tests
Breath tests are the most preferred type of BAC test in California. These tests are invasive and deliver instant results. There are two basic categories of DUI breath tests in California. These includes:
Pre-Arrest or Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) Test
A preliminary alcohol screen test is administered before one gets arrested for DUI. It usually occurs at a DUI sobriety checkpoint or after a traffic stop. One might lawfully decline a PAS unless:
- You are under the age of twenty-one
- You are on probation due to prior DUI offense
Post-Arrest DUI Breath Tests
As soon as a driver has been lawfully apprehended for a DUI, one has the chance to undertake a blood or breath test. This is a mandatory test even after taking a PAS test. If you refuse to undertake it, you will risk an automatic suspension of your driving license for a minimum of a year.
A post-arrest DUI test is usually administered within the police station and using a device attached to the desktop.
How DUI Breath Tests Work
DUI breath test works by measuring the alcohol content present in the deepest part of a suspect’s lungs, where it is closest to the blood supply.
The DUI officer uses a breathalyzer, which is a machine that converts the breath of a suspect to an approximate blood alcohol content. The formula used by the breathalyzer is referred to as partition ratio. The partition ratio can differ from one officer to the other and from one situation to the other. However, in California, the partition of 2,100 to 1 is considered as legally acceptable. In that case, the amount of alcohol present in 2,100 milliliters of your deep lung breath is perceived to be an equal amount of alcohol in 1 milliliter of your blood.
With such a partition level, our Julian DUI attorney can challenge the breath alcohol content presented to the court, especially if your BAC reading is slightly higher than the recommended levels.
DUI Blood Test
Blood tests usually measure the amount of alcohol directly from the suspect’s blood. Therefore, such tests provide the most precise BAC results when everything is done strictly. The suspect’s blood is drawn by certified personnel and taken to the laboratory for analysis. The test might go for a few days before your Julian DUI attorney can access the results.
The main benefit of using a blood test over the breath test is that that blood can be saved, unlike breath samples. Therefore, your Julian DUI attorney can access the test and have it tested independently to determine whether the results presented in court are accurate.
DUI Urine Test
It is not normal finding urine tests being conducted in a California DUI case. Urine tests can also provide an accurate result of the presence of alcohol in a suspect bloodstream. However, they cannot achieve a reliable outcome on the specific amount of alcohol that is present in a person’s blood.
Urine test is conducted in case:
- Both breath and blood tests are not available
- The driver is incapable of taking one of these tests, and the other one is unavailable
Some of the basis why it is incapable of undertaking either of the tests are:
- Medical conditions such as clothing or breathing disorder
- A great extent of unconsciousness or inebriation, which makes it difficult for the suspect to complete a breath test
Title 17 Regulations in BAC Test In California
Whenever a test is conducted, whether a blood breath or urine test, specific procedures must be considered. These procedures are provided under Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations. Any violation of these regulations can be a cornerstone of your Julian DUI attorney defense strategy. Here are the Title 17 regulations in all the three DUI tests.
Title 17 Regulations in DUI Blood Tests
The essential Title 17 requirements while performing California DUI blood tests are as follows:
- A licensed technician must draw your blood
- The authorized technician should use an alcohol-based cleaning agent when sterilizing the draw site
- The technician must use enough anticoagulant and preservative while placing the blood in the vial. These two reagents will prevent the clotting or fermenting of the blood which can produce a high BAC reading
- The reagents used in preserving your blood should not be expired
- The laboratory technician should adequately mix the anticoagulant and preservative with the sample
- The technician should properly store the blood sample
Title 17 Regulations in California DUI Breath Tests
California laws have given a dozen of regulations in DUI breath testing. Some of these regulations are as follows:
- The breath sample obtained from the suspect should come from the deep lung air or the alveolar air
- The traffic officer administering the sample should observe the suspect for about fifteen minutes before taking the sample
- During the observation period, the suspect should not eat anything, smoke, regurgitate, or vomit
- The breathalyzer should be recalibrated after every 150 uses or ten days
- The person conducting the test should be adequately trained on how to handle the breathalyzer
Any violation of the DUI breath test regulations can significantly compromise your BAC test results. Therefore, your Julian DUI attorney should consider such violations to build a legal defense strategy.
Title 17 Regulations In California DUI urine Test
Urine test is not common in California. Even so, there are specific regulations that should be adhered to to ensure that the results achieved from the testing are accurate. Under Title 17, anyone submitting a urine sample for BAC testing should first void his or her bladder and provide the sample twenty minutes later. If the sample is taken earlier than the required timeline is scientifically considered to be unreliable.
Also, the regulations provide that the urine sample should be stored for at least a year to have it retested later on in an independent laboratory.
Find a DUI Attorney Near Me
Facing DUI charges without any legal assistance can significantly affect the outcomes of your case. Therefore, it would be wise to hire a professional DUI attorney to increase the chances of winning your case. San Diego DUI Attorney has established a reputation for offering excellent services for clients facing DUI charges. If you are in Julian, CA, reach us at 619-535-7150 to speak to one of our attorneys.