When individuals are charged with violation of California Vehicle Code section 23152(b), in Orange County they are suspected of driving with 0.08% blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) or more. The main issue in this law is the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood at the time that they were actually driving the vehicle. If you have questions about BAC levels in Orange County DUI cases, our experienced attorneys could answer them and explain how they apply to your case.
BAC is analyzed by methods that measure the amount of alcohol in the blood at the time of testing. This is done directly by testing the blood, or indirectly through the use of a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) breath device, breathalyzer or another breath chemical test. Indirect BAC testing methods must apply conversion rates that only estimate the actual percentage of alcohol in the blood.
The validity of BAC test results can be affected by various things, such as the calibration and maintenance records of the PAS equipment used, the physical conditions under which a PAS test was given, the time element, or how blood and urine chemical samples are handled within the facility taking them.
Several complex factors can also come into play that can influence the actual BAC of an individual, such as a person’s physical condition (body weight, height, health, etc…) or what they may have consumed prior to testing, such as food, water, medications or other drugs. Alcohol is soluble in water; therefore the concentration of alcohol in one’s blood and body tissue can depend upon the total amount of body fluids, making a person’s body weight an important factor in analyzing alcohol intoxication.
Dr. Nachman Brautbar is a University of California professor and specialist in the fields of internal medicine, toxicology, pharmacology, nephrology and specifically toxicology. He contends that the methodology of determining BAC through breath alcohol devices is not full-proof because of individual variations in breathing and bodily alcohol absorption. Alcohol is primarily absorbed in the small intestine, and to some extent, in the stomach. It then flows within the blood throughout the body, and to all internal organs, including the lungs. The extrapolation from alcohol breath measurement devices into blood alcohol content (BAC) is based upon a ratio between air exhaled through the lungs and blood alcohol. Scientific studies have shown this ratio as ranging from 1/1500 to 1/300, yet alcohol devices today are based upon a ratio of 1/1200.
Because there are complicated factors that affect blood alcohol levels, knowledge of blood alcohol testing procedures, or expert testimony from someone who has that knowledge can be vital in a DUI criminal defense case. Most knowledgeable attorneys will either be trained in the mechanisms of BAC testing or can easily retain the services of experts who are. For more information about BAC levels in Orange County DUI cases, call today.