What Factors Influence Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)?
If you enjoy regularly drinking with friends or family, you most likely know how much you can handle. However, if you were pulled over after drinking your usual round and charged with a DUI, this can be infuriating. The officer's say isn't the final word; you can fight this charge and make a defense with the help of a lawyer. Take a look at a few factors that could've affected your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
Can Medication Increase Blood Alcohol Level?
Yes, any medication, no matter how innocuous, can have negative interactions with alcohol. Over-the-counter medications like cough syrups or cough drops contain trace amounts of alcohol. Even popping an aspirin or other NSAID can increase your BAC.
So, if you had a cold, flu, or another temporary bug during the time of your arrest, think back to what you took that day to combat the symptoms. Your analgesic could have been the real culprit in this case.
Over-the-counter medications aren't the only issue. If you were just diagnosed with a condition, you may not be fully aware of all the restrictions that come with it. For instance, if you started taking anti-ulcer medications, you may have a lower alcohol metabolism, which can increase your BAC.
If you have acid reflux disease, the alcohol that leaked back up from your stomach could have increased residual alcohol levels in your mouth, thus skewing a breathalyzer test. As you can see, innumerable medications and conditions can affect your BAC.
If you're afraid your medications affected your BAC, talk with a professional attorney to build a strong defense.
The Breathalyzer May Have Been Defective
If you do a quick Google search, you'll find that breathalyzer tests can be very inaccurate. While an officer could test your urine or draw blood for a more accurate result, breathalyzers are used because they're quick and easy. And since these machines measure air that is exhaled, their reading can sometimes be very off if you accidentally burp, vomit, or sneeze. Funnily enough, a judge in Canada actually deemed one breathalyzer model to be effective, so thousands of DUI charges in that county may be questioned. And a few years ago in Washington D.C., hundreds of people were charged for intoxicated driving even though the breathalyzers were not calibrated correctly. If you have a small drink on the night of your DUI arrest, and somehow your BAC was ridiculously high, it's worth your while to have your lawyer look into the breathalyzer that was used.
Stressors May Have Looked Like Impairment
Were you particularly stressed out or fatigued the night of your arrest? Even these unseen stress or scan physically affect your body. When you're stressed, your body diverts blood flow from digestion in your stomach to other muscles as part of the "fight or flight" response. This, in turn, causes your body to decrease the rate of absorption. When your body has a lower rate of absorption, your BAC may rise steeply later on. And if you were fatigued along with being stressed, your tiredness could translate to impairment to an officer observing you. What could also add to your stressors and high BAC level? Possibly the laws in your state. Many states have an implied consent law, meaning that since you have a driver's license, you must consent to a breath, urine, or blood test if your officer has probable cause. This implied consent can be quite nerve-racking for many-even if you know you aren't intoxicated. And if you end up turning an officer down in California, you could face hefty fines, jail time, or even the suspension of your license. These variables can add even more anxiety to an already stressful situation. In short, there are factors you can consider when building a defense. Talk with your lawyer about any or all of these issues and how they may have affected your BAC.