Some drivers in Pennsylvania may be charged with DUI offenses before their blood test results come back. If you are charged with a DUI and are waiting for the blood test results, you might not learn your BAC level until your preliminary hearing. DiCindio Law can explain how different BAC levels might impact the penalties that you will face. If your BAC results appear to be inaccurate, your attorney can investigate how the testing and analysis were performed to identify potential problems.
How different BAC levels might affect you
When people drink, they might wonder how alcohol might affect their ability to drive. Different levels of alcohol in your blood can affect you differently.
When you have a BAC of 0.02% to 0.03%, you may have a slight loss of motor skills and a slightly euphoric feeling. This is the BAC that people who weigh less than 190 pounds will have after one drink.
If your BAC is between 0.04% to 0.06%, you might feel happy and uninhibited. You might experience a minor impairment of your mental functioning. This BAC level typically results in people who have two drinks when they weigh less than 190 pounds. People who weigh more than 190 pounds might have BACs in this range after three or four drinks.
If your BAC is 0.07% to 0.09%, your motor skills, judgment, speech, and self-control may all be impaired. This range is what most people have after drinking four or five drinks.
If your BAC falls from 0.10% to 0.125%, your speech will likely be slurred, and your motor control will be reduced. At this level, driving is dangerous.
A BAC that ranges from 0.13% to 015% makes your motor control to greatly decline. Any euphoric feelings that you previously experienced might be replaced by anger, depression, or anxiety. If your BAC is 0.16% or higher, you will likely be incapacitated. You may be nauseous and have trouble focusing. Very high BAC levels can result in vomiting, comas, and death.
Officers test your blood, breath, or urine to calculate what your BAC was at the time that you were driving. An experienced lawyer can contest these types of calculations to help people to avoid serious penalties.
Understanding the symptoms that are associated with various BAC levels can help you to make better decisions about driving. If you feel impaired by alcohol, you should opt to call a cab or to take public transportation instead of trying to drive yourself home.
How police test the blood alcohol concentration
Police officers test people to check their BAC levels by using breath tests, blood tests, or urine tests. Breath and blood tests are the most commonly used in Pennsylvania. However, all of these tests are subject to errors. If you receive a higher BAC result than you expected and are certain that you were not over the limit, you might have been drinking but were not impaired. It is also possible that you did not drink any alcohol, making it impossible for you to be drunk.
Reasons why you might have a higher BAC result after drinking
Some people may remain under the limit after having a couple of drinks. Others might still have alcohol in their systems from the previous night. If you feel tipsy, you are likely over the limit. If you do not, your BAC may be below 0.08%.
If you are sure that your BAC was not over the limit after you had a drink or two, it can be caused by testing errors, alcohol in your mouth, or a rising BAC level. Mistakes are sometimes made with testing. For example, breath tests may be inaccurate when the machines are not properly calibrated. Blood tests may be inaccurate when the sample is not properly tested, stored, or handled. When these problems occur, your lawyer might be able to have your test results declared to be inadmissible as evidence against you.
Breath tests test the air that is deep in your lungs. However, if you have an alcohol source in your mouth, the results can be wrong. For example, burping and acid reflux can skew breath test results. Using a mouth wash or breath spray can also do so. The police are supposed to wait for a certain time to pass after you burp before administering a breath test.
Alcohol is absorbed by the body from the stomach slowly. If a police officer waits too long to administer a test, your BAC can rise higher than it was when you were driving.
Finally, there is a margin of error with BAC tests. If your BAC results were near to the limit, you might not have been driving illegally. An attorney might be able to get the prosecutor to agree to reduce your charges or to dismiss your case.
Tests showing the presence of alcohol when you didn’t drink
In some cases, people are charged with DUIs when they have not drunk any alcohol. There are several reasons why you might receive a BAC result that is greater than the legal limit after you have not consumed any alcohol, including the following:
- Following a ketogenic diet
- Taking cold medications that contain alcohol
- Using breath spray or mouth wash that contains alcohol
If you think that your BAC results are inaccurate, you should talk to an attorney. Call DiCindio Law today to schedule a consultation at (610) 430-3535. You can also submit your information on our online contact form, and someone will get back to you.
The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes to the law that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments or the most complete legal issues for all cases These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended solely for informational purposes.