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Orange County Drunk Driving

BAC Levels

BAC LevelsIn the state of California, when violating Vehicle Code section 23152(b), driving with 0.08% blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) or more, the primary issue is the amount of alcohol in the blood at the time of driving.

Blood-alcohol content, or BAC, is determined by blood-alcohol analysis methods that attempt to measure the amount of alcohol in the blood at the time of testing, either directly through a blood test, or indirectly through a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) breath device, or a title 17 approved breath testing machine, or through a urine chemical test (Urine tests are not an option for those arrested in Orange County for DUI under the implied consent law). With indirect BAC tests, conversion rates must be applied to estimate the percentage of alcohol in the blood.

Several conditions may affect the validity of the results of these tests. These can include PAS and other breath testing equipment calibration and maintenance, conditions under which the breath test was given, the time element, or the handling of blood and/or urine chemical samples.

Also, there are many complex factors that can influence a person's actual BAC level, such as the person’s physical condition (body weight, height, health etc...) and what they might have recently consumed (including food, water, medications and other drugs). Given that alcohol is soluble in water, the concentration of alcohol in a person’s blood and body tissue depends on the amount of total body water, making the weight of a person an important factor in the analysis of alcohol intoxication.

According to Dr. Nachman Brautbar, a University of California professor and specialist in the fields of internal medicine, toxicology, pharmacology, nephrology and specifically toxicology, alcohol is absorbed mainly in the small intestine, and to some extent, in the stomach. It is then distributed via the blood throughout the body, reaching all body organs, including the lungs. This process is the basis for the extrapolation from alcohol breath measurement devices into blood alcohol content (BAC), or rather that the ratio between air that is exhaled through the lungs and blood alcohol is 1/2100. Scientific literature has published figures ranging from 1/1500 to 1/3000. Therefore, the methodology used today is not full-proof, because of individual variations in breathing and alcohol absorption.

Given there are many factors that can affect BAC levels, having extensive knowledge of blood alcohol testing procedures, or expert testimony from someone who has that knowledge could prove quite beneficial in a DUI criminal defense case. Most experienced DUI attorneys in Orange County will be able to retain the services of such experts known as toxicologists.

More Information:

The 10 Day Rule
What to ask a DUI lawyer
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