Blood Alcohol Concentration

DUI, and whether or not you were driving under the influence, or not, is usually predicated on the driver's blood alcohol concentration. Blood alcohol concentration refers to the amount of ethyl alcohol in the bloodstream. When the concentration of alcohol gets too high, it hinders a driver's physical coordination, mental alertness, reaction time, critical thinking skills, and more. When this happens, there is a much greater chance of the driver causing a serious or fatal accident.

In California, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more. For people under 21, it is a crime to drive with a BAC higher than .01%. Anyone found driving with a BAC level that reaches or exceeds the legal limit will be arrested and charged with DUI. In order to determine a driver's BAC, the arresting officer will conduct a breath or blood test. If the results of the test indicate the driver's BAC is above .08%, then he or she will usually be arrested for DUI.

Chemical Tests: Breath – Blood – Urine

Breath testing is the most common way police officers test BAC levels. To conduct a breath test, the officer will instruct the driver to blow into a handheld device called a breathalyzer. The breathalyzer calculates the driver's BAC by measuring the amount of breath alcohol in the deep lung region, which is believed to have a direct correlation with the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream.

Blood testing is done in a laboratory; 1st, a technician draws blood from the driver's arm for analysis. Although slightly less common than breath testing, blood testing is considered more accurate, which can be a good thing if you're absolutely positive that your BAC is under .08%. However, if you aren't sure if you are over the limit, you may want to opt for a breath test, as those are less accurate and more prone to error.

If you took a breath, blood or Urine test and it exceeded the legal limit of 0.08, do not give up hope. There are still many viable defenses available to you. These tests are not 100% accurate, and error can easily occur. There are many circumstances or factors that could cause an inaccurate reading, such as:

  • Operator error
  • Radio frequency interference
  • Mechanical defects
  • Electrical malfunctions
  • Dirty/broken equipment
  • Weight and gender
  • Type of alcohol consumed
  • Eating before taking the test

If you have been charged with DUI, and you took a breath, blood or urine test, it's to your advantage to hire a skilled DUI attorney to defend you in court. Having been in this business for over 28 years, Attorney Ivan Morse successfully helped many people accused of DUI.