Blood Alcohol Level / DUI/DWI BAC
Drinking and driving is commonly referred to as DUI, but another common term used is DWI. Both terms refer to a serious criminal offense. There typically isn't a legal difference between the two terms, and they are usually based on how your state decides to refer to drinking and driving. However, some states do differentiate between the two terms, with one being a lesser charge.
An important piece of evidence in most DUI offenses is a person's blood alcohol content, the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. How much you weigh and the amount of alcohol you consume determine your blood alcohol level, as well as your metabolism, amount of food eaten and other factors.
BAC is usually found by taking a blood, breath, salvia or urine sample to measure the weight of alcohol in the measured volume of the blood.
State DUI laws differ but every state sets the legal blood alcohol limit at 08%. If your BAC is .08% or higher, you are considered legally intoxicated, and you may face DWI or DUI penalties if you are charged and convicted with DWI.
Measuring Blood Alcohol
When you are stopped under the suspicion of DWI, usually a BAC test is performed. The most common way to measure BAC is with a breathalyzer, which measures the alcohol level in your breath from your lungs.
In some states you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer, but in others, you may be faced with severe penalties for doing so, depending on DUI laws in your state.
Generally, the most accurate method of determining BAC is blood testing. A blood test is typically administered by having a doctor or qualified medical professional draws your blood.
Some state DUI laws, provide for the suspected offender to have blood drawn by the doctor of his or her choice. If you are refused that right, you may be able to fight your DWI charge.
During a DWI stop, police officers may also use various field sobriety tests to measure your reflexes and abilities. These road tests don't measure your BAC, but you can still be convicted of DWI if you fail a field sobriety test with a BAC below .08%.
Challenge a DWI
Even if your BAC is .08% or higher and you have been charged with a DWI, you may be able to challenge your DUI offense. A local DWI attorney can discuss your DUI defense and potentially find problems in your case to challenge.
It may be possible to challenge the accuracy of the blood alcohol evidence by using an expert witness to testify about the qualifications of the medical personnel or the maintenance and functionality of the breathalyzer or other testing equipment. Your DWI attorney may also be able to contest the procedures of obtaining, sealing, labeling and storing the evidence.
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