One of the most reliable and commonly used sources of evidence in a drunk driving case is the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of arrest. Your BAC is the measure of the amount of alcohol on your breath or in your blood. If you are pulled over under suspicion of intoxicated driving the officer will ask you to submit to a breath or blood test to get a reading on your BAC.
If your BAC is above the legal level, you could be charged with a DUI. In the state of Nevada the legal limit is a BAC of .08% for a normal driver, .04% for a commercial driver, and .02% for a driver under the age of 21.
Effects of BAC on Impairment
Alcohol impacts each person differently, but there are certain factors that determine how much alcohol you can consume before your BAC reaches the legal limit. Your blood alcohol concentration will be effected by:
- The amount of alcohol you drank
- How much food you consumed while drinking
- The amount of time you drank alcohol
- Your weight
- Your gender
Blood alcohol concentration is a measurement of the percentage of alcohol in the blood, and typically there are certain side effects that can be seen depending on a person’s BAC. A driver will usually exhibit the following effects based on their BAC level:
- .01% – .02%: Driver may have subtle effects that can only be detected by conducting special tests
- .03% – .05%: Driver’s concentration will be impaired
- .06% – .09%: Driver’s ability to reason, peripheral vision, glare recovery, and depth perception will be impaired
- .10% – .19%: Driver’s reaction time, reflexes, speech, gross motor control, and ability to walk will be impaired
- .20% – .29%: Driver will exhibit severe motor impairment, loss of consciousness, and memory blackout
Contrary to popular belief, there are no tricks that can be used to reduce your BAC after drinking. The only way to lower your BAC is to wait for several hours until your body metabolizes the alcohol. This means that if you are planning to go out drinking, make sure you monitor your alcohol intake or arrange for a designated driver to take you home, because going for a walk, taking a cold shower, and drinking coffee won’t do a thing to reduce your BAC.
How is BAC determined?
BAC evidence often plays a significant role in DUI cases, so if you are pulled over under suspicion of intoxicated driving the officer will ask you to submit to either a breath or blood test to determine your BAC. The two main types of chemical testing are:
Breath Tests: For a breath test the officer will ask the driver to breathe deeply into a breath machine, such as a Breathalyzer. The machine then measures the amount of alcohol on the driver’s breath, and uses this number to estimate the level of alcohol in the blood. Although the only direct method of measuring a person’s blood alcohol concentration is through drawing and testing a blood sample, the evidence gathered through a breath test is often very influential in court.
Blood Tests: The driver’s BAC can be tested by having a blood sample drawn at the police station or at a lab. The sample is then analyzed by a trained lab technician or qualified medical professional to measure the percentage of alcohol present in the blood. Blood test results are considered to be the most reliable evidence of BAC, and this evidence is often preferred by prosecutors and law enforcement when filing DUI charges against a driver.
If you were charged with drunk driving after failing a breath or blood test it is imperative that you contact a DUI defense attorney before entering a plea in your case, as they may be able to fight the allegations and protect your freedoms.
Fighting Breath and Blood Test Evidence
As in any criminal case, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options as determine whether your rights have been violated. Our team at De Castroverde Law Group is experienced in defending all types of DUI charges, and we can build a compelling defense against your charges. There are a number of factors that can impact your case and the results of your breath or blood test.
- Did the officer have probable cause to stop your vehicle?
- Was the breath machine properly maintained?
- Was the breath machine correctly calibrated?
- Did the officer observe you for 30 minutes before administering the breath test to ensure you had not vomited or burped?
- Was an alcohol-based swap used to clean your skin before a blood sample was drawn?
- Was the sample properly labeled?
- Was the chain of custody for the sample broken at any time?
- Was the sample properly analyzed by a qualified technician?
Conviction for drunk driving can result in severe penalties, and with so much on the line, you need to ensure your rights and interests are protected.
Choose the Proven Defense of De Castroverde Law Group
Our family-run firm is committed to providing the people of Las Vegas with the aggressive and effective defense they need to fight DUI charges. We have represented countless clients in drunk driving cases, and our skilled Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers have the legal knowledge and courtroom experience necessary to powerfully challenge the allegations made against you.
If you are convicted of DUI your sentence could include heavy fines, the loss of your license, and lengthy incarceration, which is why you cannot wait to obtain the aggressive defense you deserve. Contact a DUI defense lawyer from our team today to enlist the relentless advocacy you need and to learn how you can fight the charges! Call us today at 702-222-9999