What is BAC?

Tampa DUI Defense Lawyer

BAC stands for blood alcohol content, which is the amount of alcohol present in an individual's blood or on their breath. It is typically expressed as the percentage of alcohol in the blood, and BAC evidence is often very important in DUI cases.

Under Florida law, a driver is guilty of driving under the influence if their BAC reaches the following limits:

  • BAC of .08% for a driver who is 21 years or older
  • BAC of .04% for a driver with a commercial license

If a law enforcement officer has reason to believe that you are driving while intoxicated, you will be stopped and asked to submit to BAC testing to determine your sobriety.

What factors impact BAC levels?

The rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the blood is affected by a variety of factors, and how quickly or slowly a person becomes intoxicated is generally based upon:

  • The individual's gender
  • The individual's weight and build
  • The amount of alcohol consumed
  • The length of time over which alcohol was consumed
  • The amount of food consumed while drinking
  • The strength of the alcohol
  • The carbonation of the alcohol
  • Whether the individual was taking certain medications

The Effects of Alcohol Upon the Body

When you drink the alcohol is absorbed into your stomach lining and small intestine, and is then diffused into your blood stream. Alcohol in the blood then travels through your body and to your brain, and can cause mild to severe impairment of cognitive and motor function, based upon the amount of alcohol you consumed.

Alcohol's effects on the body become stronger as BAC increases and more alcohol gets to the brain. Although alcohol impacts people differently, it generally has the following effects as BAC increases:

  • BAC of .01% to .02%: The individual may be subtly affected, but the impact can only be detected by specialized tests.
  • BAC of .03% to .05%: The individual's ability to concentrate becomes impaired.
  • BAC of .06% to .09%: The individual's ability to reason, depth perception, glare recovery, and peripheral vision become impaired.
  • BAC of .10% to .19%: The individual's ability to walk and speak, reflexes, gross motor control, and reaction time become impaired.
  • BAC of .20% to .29%: The individual exhibits severe motor impairment, memory blackout, and may lose consciousness.

Are there any ways to lower BAC?

There are many "tips" floating around that promise to reduce your BAC after drinking so that you can drive, but in reality there are no shortcuts to lowering blood alcohol levels. Such commonly spread tricks as eating a big meal, drinking coffee, going for a run, or taking a cold shower will not, in fact, do anything to lower your BAC so that you can drive yourself home. The only way to reduce your BAC is to wait for your body to metabolize the alcohol, which can take a few hours. This means that if you are planning to drink, it is best to hire a taxi or get a friend to take you home, so that you don't risk getting a DUI.

BAC Testing in Florida

If an officer believes that you are driving while intoxicated, they will pull over your vehicle and ask you to submit to chemical testing to determine your BAC. There are two main types of chemical tests used to assess a driver's blood alcohol content: breath tests and blood tests.

Breath Test
The breath test is administered on the scene and the officer will instruct the suspected individual to deeply breathe into a breath machine, such as a Breathalyzer. The machine analyzes the amount of alcohol that is on the individual's breath and uses the reading to estimate the percentage of alcohol that is in the blood. This test in noninvasive and though the results provide an indirect measurement of BAC, this evidence can be very persuasive during DUI trials.

Blood Test
This method is administered at the police station or in a lab by a trained professional who draws a sample of the suspect's blood. The sample is then analyzed by a qualified medical professional or technician to determine the percentage of alcohol in the blood. Blood tests provide the most accurate and direct measurement of a suspect's BAC, and this evidence is often preferred by law enforcement and prosecutors.

Is there any way to fight the results of a blood or breath test?

The results of your blood or breath test likely played a large role in your DUI charges, but it may be still be possible to fight this evidence. There are various factors that can negatively impact the results of a chemical test. The Tampa DUI attorney from our firm can assess your situation to determine if your test results were negatively affected by outside factors or if your rights were violated in some way. Your blood or breath test evidence could be ruled invalid or inadmissible if:

  • The officer did not have probable cause to pull you over
  • The breath machine was not properly maintained
  • The breath machine was incorrectly calibrated
  • You burped or vomited within thirty minutes before taking the breath test
  • Your skin was cleaned with an alcohol-based swab before a blood sample was drawn
  • The blood sample was not analyzed by a qualified professional
  • The blood sample was incorrectly labeled
  • The chain of custody for the blood sample was broken, which possible caused a mix up
  • The blood sample was tainted in some way

Need a lawyer for a DUI in Tampa, FL?

If you are charged with DUI because you failed a blood or breath test in Tampa, it is important that you speak with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. Before entering a plea for your charges you should have all the facts needed to make an informed decision, including being aware of your available defense options.

Our team at The Law Office of Timothy Hessinger has over 20 years of experience, and we have the seasoned skill and invaluable knowledge needed to aggressively challenge your charges and fight for your best interests. We have fought for the rights of countless clients and we can provide you with tireless legal advocacy before the court. Contact a Tampa DUI lawyer from our firm to discuss your case and to enlist the proven representation you deserve!

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