Term of the Day
Blood Alcohol Concentration
Definition - What does Blood Alcohol Concentration mean?
Blood alcohol concentration or BAC is the amount of alcohol contained in a person’s blood as measured per unit of volume. It is illegal in every state for a driver to operate a motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher.
Although alcohol has varied effects on different drivers and some drivers may be impaired with a lower BAC than 0.08%, evidence suggests that a majority of drivers with an illegal level of alcohol in their blood will be impaired, which may significantly increase the risk that they will injure themselves or other drivers.
Specifically, drivers with a BAC at or close to the legal limit may lose their ability to make good driving decisions, they may lack good muscle coordination, they may react improperly to stimuli, or they may lack the ability to effectively process information. Additionally, some drivers may lose self-control, the ability to reason, or suffer memory impairment.
BAC is affected by a variety of factors
There are a variety of factors which can affect a person’s intoxication level. The most common factors include the type and number of drinks consumed, the gender and weight of the drinker, the time period in which the alcohol was consumed, and the amount of food eaten.
How does law enforcement test my BAC?
Breathalyzers are the most common method used by law enforcement to test a driver’s BAC. After the initial DUI stop and prior to the DUI arrest a police officer may use an alcohol screening breathalyzer in an attempt to gather sufficient evidence to arrest a driver for DUI. After the DUI arrest, the officer may also retest the driver’s breath using an evidential breathalyzer.
Other chemical tests of a driver’s blood and urine may also be done following a DUI arrest. Under most state’s laws drivers have, in fact, given their implied consent to submit to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine following a DUI arrest.
Drivers who refuse to perform the chemical test of their BAC may have their license automatically suspended, sometimes up to one year. This BAC test is a civil procedure and is separate from any DUI penalties and fines assessed after a DUI conviction.
Blood alcohol concentration and driving under the influence are complicated topics and can include discussions of alcohol absorption rates, alcohol elimination, and metabolic rates. It’s important to discuss your case with a lawyer if you have been arrested for DUI and the state claims your BAC is above the legal limit.