When a person is arrested for drunk driving and charged with a DWI/DUI offense, establishing an accurate measurement of the driver’s blood alcohol level is required to determine if there is a violation of state laws. Alcohol related charges happen when an officer stops someone suspected of driving while intoxicated, does field sobriety testing, and the driver fails. The most reliable tests done on scene are those that measure the blood alcohol count so long as they are correctly administered and used according to established procedures.
What Is Blood Alcohol Count (BAC)?
The blood alcohol count is a calculation that measures how much alcohol is in a person’s bloodstream so that the degree of intoxication can be determined. The level of intoxication as compared with body weight affects a person’s motor skills, ability to think, and other functionality required to drive.
BAC is normally given as a percentage of units of alcohol within total units of blood. The actual value is derived with a formula called the Widmark Formula that takes into account a person’s weight and build, any medical conditions, types of food eaten and when, type and number of drinks consumed, and consumption time frame. The resulting percentages are used to decide whether someone is within the legal limit or over.
Factors that Affect Intoxication Levels
Every person is physically and metabolically different, making it impossible to create a test that is 100% accurate that can apply to everyone. The absorption rate of alcohol varies by person, so two people who drink equal amounts at the same time may not end up with the same BAC. Although BAC charts are designed to be as accurate as possible, it still creates an opportunity for alcohol related charges to be challenged in court by criminal defense lawyers.
Main differences in absorption and flushing of alcohol from the bloodstream relate to: body weight and body mass/percentage of fat; metabolic function; hydration level; and more. Other things that can affect how the body processes and eliminates alcohol include: certain medical conditions and medications that can artificially increase or decrease metabolism; the amount of recent sleep; hereditary traits; and regular drinking habits.
Alcohol Effects in the Bloodstream
Alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant; it slows down the brain and body as more is consumed, causing various impairments. When more is consumed than can be absorbed and eliminated, a drinker becomes intoxicated as BAC levels rise. Some can prevent intoxication by knowing the speed at which their body eliminates alcohol and what things – eating, drinking other liquids, etc. – tend to assist metabolism.
The effects caused by the absorption of alcohol vary greatly yet can be described in terms of basic BAC levels.
- Mild – The mildest level of impairment is usually displayed by talkativeness, decreased inhibition, calmness, and feeling pleasant or joyful.
- Moderate – Moderate consumption includes decreased reaction time, loss of inhibition altogether, mood swings of anger or sadness, poor judgment and reasoning, impaired vision, memory loss, increasingly reduced motor function, etc.
- Excessive – Those with excessive BAC display symptoms such as: loss of understanding; blackout; loss of bladder control; depressed breathing, heart rate, and equilibrium; unconsciousness; and potential death if the nervous system becomes severely depressed.
When alcoholic beverages are consumed and the consumer drives, there is a greater risk for being stopped based on impairment-related factors that are demonstrated by swerving, speeding, or causing accidents. Alcohol related charges can range from a blot on the driving record to fines and imprisonment. Understanding what is involved with BAC and how it is viewed in a court of law is important for drivers to know before going out to drink and then getting behind the wheel of a car!
Defending Alcohol Related Charges Needs Aggressive Handling!
Call Attorneys Gray, Granberry & Jones at (979) 314-0112 – They Will Protect Your Rights Through The Entire Legal Process!