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Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) - What exactly does the BAC mean?

In most DUI cases, you will find yourself hearing the term "blood alcohol content," frequently. For someone who has never dealt with a criminal case, this can be confusing. What exactly is the BAC? What does it mean? How will it affect your case? Put simply, BAC refers to the amount of alcohol that you have in your blood at any given time. This is also referred to as blood alcohol concentration, blood ethanol concentration and blood alcohol level, but it all means the same thing. This is scientifically considered the most accurate form of determining the level of intoxication of a person and is therefore often a cornerstone in any given DUI case. The higher the BAC is in a person, the more intoxicated they will be and the more impairment they will show.

Below, we have shown BAC levels with their associated symptoms:

0.030 to 0.059 Percent

  • Relaxed and mild happiness
  • Increased desire to talk
  • Lowered inhibition
  • Difficulty concentrating

0.06 to 0.09 Percent

  • Feelings are more "blunt"
  • Inhibition is completely dismantled
  • Ability to reason becomes impaired
  • Problems with perceiving depth
  • Peripheral vision becomes impaired

0.10 to 0.19 Percent

  • Begin to "over express" emotions
  • Mood swings from one extreme to another
  • Libido begins to plummet
  • Reaction time and reflexes become impaired
  • Difficulty walking and speaking clearly

Anything higher than this can begin to cause severe medical conditions, such as unconsciousness, falling into a stupor and at certain levels can even lead to death. So how much alcohol does it take to get to this level? It depends on the gender, as well as the size for a person. For example, a 100 lb woman may have one drink and reach a BAC of 0.05 percent, whereas it would take a 220 lb male three drinks to reach the same level.

Tests to determine levels of BAC

There are several different forms of testing that may be completed to determine the BAC of any given individual. This will vary depending on the circumstances of the arrest. While these are scientifically sound, it does not mean that these are flawless. In fact, no matter whether you were administered a breath, blood or urine test there are steps you can take to challenge the results.

Some of the common faults of BAC testing include:

Breath Tests
There are many flaws that can occur from the administration of a breath test. One of the most common sources of flaw is if the machine is not routinely calibrated. These machines need to receive regular maintenance to ensure that they are giving accurate reading. Another common flaw that can result in skewed readings is if the subject still has traces of alcohol in their mouth. This mouth alcohol can severely skew the ability of the breath test machine to get an accurate reading and could cause faulty readings.

Blood Tests
While far more accurate than the breath test, there are still many flaws that can lead to an inaccurate reading with the blood test. Many of these can be attributed to simple human error. For example, the storage of the blood sample is hugely important. If it is not mixed with the proper amount of coagulants or preservatives, stored at the incorrect temperature or labeled improperly, it could cause the sample to be attributed to the wrong person or could cause it to clot.

Contact Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLP today!

If you have been arrested for having a BAC over the legal limit of 0.08 percent, you do not have the option of wasting your time. In the state of California, this is taken as per se evidence and can result in criminal charges for driving under the influence even if you were otherwise showing no signs of intoxication. You, however, do not have to take this criminal charge lying down!

There are defenses that you can utilize and steps that you can take to fight for your legal rights. At our firm, we know what is on the line and we are prepared to go above and beyond in our efforts to provide you with the hard-hitting legal defense that you deserve. If you would like to schedule your initial case evaluation, do not hesitate to get a hold of our firm today. The sooner that you contact us, the sooner we can begin building your case. Call today.

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Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLP
11845 W. Olympic Boulevard, Suite 1000
Los Angeles, California, 90064 USA
310-312-8055