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What You Need to Know About BAC in California

Okabe & Haushalter Apr 19, 2018 DUI

California, like every other state in the U.S., has specific restrictions on driving while intoxicated. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal. While the general rule may seem straightforward, determining whether you are intoxicated is actually trickier than you might think. In most circumstances, drivers who are suspected of drinking and driving will undergo a test to determine their BAC—Blood Alcohol Concentration. When your BAC is over a certain limit, then you can be charged with a DUI.

BAC testing must meet specific requirements to be valid. If they do not have an accurate test, your charges could be dropped. Your Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will be able to examine your situation and determine if this is a possibility for your case.

What is Blood Alcohol Concentration?

BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration measures the amount of alcohol in your blood at a given time. It can be determined by testing your blood or breath. The final result is based on a percentage—the percentage of alcohol in your blood. The more alcohol you have consumed, the higher your BAC will be.

Factors that Affect BAC

Although BAC is a standard measure, alcohol actually affects everyone slightly differently. The following factors will likely influence your BAC:

  • Age
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Gender
  • Amount of food consumed
  • Type of alcohol consumed
  • Medications
  • The amount of time that you have been drinking

Your body metabolizes alcohol slightly faster or slower than other people. That means that even if someone who is a similar size and weight as you consume the same amount of alcohol, your BAC may not be the same.

Legal BAC Limits in California

The most well-known BAC limit in California is for drivers who are 21 years of age or older. This limit is 0.08. At 0.08 BAC, you are considered legally intoxicated, and you may be charged with a DUI.

Commercial drivers are subjected to a different standard. They cannot have a BAC of more than 0.04.

California has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to those are drinking under the legal age limit of 21. For those drivers, even a BAC of 0.01 is considered intoxicated and illegal.

Testing for BAC

The most common way to test your BAC is to use a breathalyzer. In California, these tests can be administered as part of your traffic stop. Breathalyzers are not always 100% accurate, however. Results of that kind of testing can be skewed by alcohol residue in the mouth, medications, improper testing methods, breathing patterns, and delays in testing.

Blood testing is generally more accurate, but this type of testing cannot be done at a traffic stop, so it is not used as frequently. The delay in administering this type of test can have an effect on the reliability of the result.

Getting Legal Help with a DUI Charge

Even if you have already been charged with a DUI, there are defenses that you may be able to present. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help. Call Okabe & Haushalter today at 310-430-7799 to speak with a member of our team.