We take all sorts of important tests which could determine what can happen next in our lives. If you are pulled over for a DUI, that test is based on your BAC results, your “Blood Alcohol Concentration.”
Unlike the tests you had in school, the higher your score is, the more likely you failed.
BAC is measuring the amount of alcohol you have in your body. A high BAC has been found to negatively affect your driving ability.
It is the standard the police will use to determine if you have been committed a crime. When the amount of alcohol absorbed into your blood is found to be 8% or greater, you can be convicted of DUI (driving under the influence ).
This will result in potential jail time as well as administrative action taken against your license by the MVA. While there can be other pieces of evidence, this is the most important factor. That’s why you need to understand BAC .
Scientifically, Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the amount of alcohol present in a 100 milliliter (mL) volume of blood.
For example, 80 mg is 0.08 grams, 0.08 grams of alcohol in 100 mLs is written as 0.08%. In other words, 80 mg% is equal to 0.08% which is equal to 80 mg/dL (deciliter; 100 mLs). This value can also be described as 0.08 BAC.
As soon as soon as your BAC passes 2%, you should be feeling the effect of the alcohol.
The best means to scientifically measure your BAC is by a blood test, taking a sample from your body. If you are pulled over by the side of the road, this is not going to be practical for many reasons.
What an officer will administer instead, unless you refuse, is a breathalyzer test. This result will give you your BrAC, Breath Alcohol Concentration. If the percentage is 8% or over, like Blood Alcohol Concentration, this will give probable cause to arrest you.
Can you have an attorney present when they give you the BAC test? In Maryland, the answer is in some situations, yes. However, your attorney must arrive within two hours of your arrest. If the lawyer does not appear in time, then it will be presumed you refused to allow the test. This will result in confiscation of your license for a minimum of 120 days, as well as whatever the outcome of the criminal trial turns out to be.
Are breathalyzer tests that determine your BAC accurate? Generally, yes, but there are additional factors that can affect their reliability:
However, any potential challenge may require specific technical and legal expertise that will not be raised until there is a court hearing. You might be able to raise doubt about the test, but it will be nearly impossible to keep the BAC results from being allowed as evidence.
Keep in mind that while your BAC at the time of an arrest is important, there are other factors an officer can observe about you at the time of the arrest to provide circumstantial evidence of intoxication:
All or some of these factors may lead to the officer administering a field sobriety test prior to a portable breathalyzer determining your BAC. Any of these factors in and of themselves can be introduced by testimony of the officer at the time of your trial to support the claim of driving under the influence.
What if your driving doesn’t appear impaired and you don’t appear to show any ill effects of drinking when pulled over? Can you still be guilty of a DUI? The answer is yes.
If a BAC test shows you over 8% , then you can be convicted of a DUI. If it is over 4% but less than 8% you can be found guilty of a DWI—driving while intoxicated (an offense with lesser penalties).
While DUI charges exist to prevent dangerous driving, the crime is based on your BAC at the time of arrest. Everything else is just evidence.
What if you are unconscious? Can the police perform a blood test to determine your BAC if you don’t give consent? The Supreme Court of the United States has said in the case of Missouri vs. McNeely that taking blood from someone without their permission was a violation of their 4th Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure.
Normally, this situation would require a warrant. The court allowed exceptions if there were emergency or exigent circumstances that demanded immediate action to preserve evidence. Otherwise an officer would need to get a warrant to obtain a sample of blood to test.
What if you realized you are becoming intoxicated, what can you do to reduce your BAC, so you don’t run into trouble? Not much, other than stop drinking and wait.
The only thing that will reduce the amount of alcohol in your blood is the passing of time to allow it to eventually leave your system. Eating, drinking coffee or taking a cold shower may produce other effects, but they won’t change your BAC.
That’s why there is the two-hour rule on waiting for an attorney to be with you while you take the test, because after enough time, your BAC will drop. So, the short answer is don’t drive, find alternative transportation and wait the hours necessary for the alcohol to pass out of your body before getting on the road again.
Like any explanation, you might have additional questions, or you might want specific answers to a specific situation. If so contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice. You’ll get answers and if you need it, you can get the representation you need.