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Blood Alcohol Content

Why is BAC Important?

People are used to hearing about blood alcohol content (BAC). You know that if you blow a 0.08 that you can be charged with drunk driving, right? Well did you know that you can be charged even if your blood alcohol content is found to be less than 0.08 percent?

A measure of your blood alcohol content is just one of the pieces of evidence that authorities will use against you in your DUI/DWI case. People often think that if you take a test and are found to have a blood alcohol content of higher than 0.08 you don’t have a leg to stand on, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Ultimately, 12 jurors must agree that your blood alcohol content actually was greater than the amount that California statutes use to define drunk.

Call (650) 419-2940 or contact us online for your free initial consultation with attorney Shelley D. Dwyer regarding a drunk driving breath test.

Calculating Your BAC

A device called an intoxilyzer, typically found at a police station, can calculate your blood alcohol content based on a test of your exhaled breath. A chromatograph or blood test can also be used to yield the blood alcohol percentages (.08) that most people are familiar with. Field breath tests are gaining in popularity but perhaps not in reliability and may be refused without penalty.

Blood alcohol concentration is not as easy to measure as police and prosecutors would often suggest. There may be errors in the administration or subsequent handling of these tests that can have an enormous effect on the outcome of a case. A review of the breath test maintenance and calibration records are essential to any defense.

In addition, a retesting of the blood test is imperative to your defense. Usually, these blood tests are very accurate as opposed to breath tests; however, if the blood sample taken by the phlebotomist is improperly preserved and is kept in an improper location, the blood alcohol result can be hugely compromised. Also, if you have any medical conditions that would compromise the accuracy of either of these chemical tests, it is imperative to use them to your advantage in court.

BAC Tests & Their Accuracy (or Inaccuracy)

Should I Take a BAC Test?

Tests that measure blood alcohol content are not always accurate and they are not foolproof. Field sobriety tests to measure blood alcohol content are especially suspect – they do not measure blood alcohol, they are observations that tend to allow the police officer to form the opinion that you are too impaired by alcohol to be driving a vehicle.

It is often a good idea for a person who is stopped to respectfully decline to take these field tests because of their inaccuracies; but one should take care in doing so because it is an offense in itself to refuse an evidentiary chemical test, which is a blood or breath test given at the jail or at the first chance facilities.

Breathalyzer Test

Breath test devices used in the field are called preliminary alcohol screening tests and are also much less reliable than those typically used at the station. Sometimes, the test might be used only to suggest that your blood alcohol content was at a certain number at some time before it was actually measured. Oftentimes, these devices are affected by the individual characteristics and behaviors of the subject, such as the presence of medications or certain foods.

These breath tests given in the field are voluntary and you are not obligated to take them. However, you must take the breath or blood test at the station after being arrested. If you decline to take this test, you will likely lose your driving privileges for a full year pursuant to the DMV admin per se law. You are deemed to have consented to take one of these evidential tests when given your California driver’s license.

DUI Blood Test

If you submit to a blood test, the preservatives used in blood tests can often affect the results. Police and other civil servants, often with minimal training, must administer these tests and they can and do make mistakes.

The measure of your blood alcohol content can be a large factor in the sentence you receive. Certain measures of blood alcohol content create tiers of stiffer penalties. While it is true that a measure of your blood alcohol content after arrest may be the strongest evidence against you, it is not beyond questioning with the help of a skilled attorney.

Contact a Bay Area DUI Lawyer for Defense of Drunk Driving Charges

There are a number of factors that can contribute to your successful DUI/DWI defense. The first of these is the lawyer you choose. Bay Area criminal defense attorney Shelley D. Dwyer has tremendous skill and experience helping those facing drunk driving charges. She can negotiate with strength for what is in your best interests and she will go to trial to defend your rights if necessary. If you or someone you know has been charged with driving drunk, make the right call.

Have you failed a breathalyzer test? Contact the Law Office of Shelley D. Dwyer today at (650) 419-2940 to schedule your free case evaluation.

When Your Freedom Is On the Line,

Contact the Law Offices of Shelley D. Dwyer.
  1. Attorney Dwyer has over 28 years of experience in criminal defense.
  2. We provide vigorous and aggressive defense.
  3. We have handled more than 150 jury trials.
  4. We offer initial consultations free of charge.
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