All About BAC Tests

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Policeman giving a BAC test to a womanIf you are drinking and driving in the United States and pulled over by an officer, more than likely you’ll be subjected to a BAC, or blood alcohol content, test.

You may require the service of a good bail bondsman because DUI offenders generally end up in jail. You are legally considered intoxicated if your BAC level is 0.08 percent or higher. In most states, the limit is lower if you are a young and inexperienced driver, a professional driver or a commercial driver.

Methods of BAC testing

There are five different methods for testing the alcohol content in your blood. They are:

  • Breath
  • Urine
  • Blood
  • Saliva
  • Hair Follicles

Hair follicle or saliva tests are rarely ever used. The three most common types of testing are the breath test, urine test or blood test. Breath tests, commonly known as breathalyzers, are used most often because they are portable, easy to carry and provide immediate results. While a breathalyzers results aren’t always accurate, they are considered sufficient enough to admit into court.

False breath results

There are many factors that can cause your BAC to be show a bit higher or lower than it actually is. For example, environmental factors like gasoline can cause the level to be off. Food you have recently eaten can increase the amount of time it takes for alcohol level to reach it’s highest.

Many believe they can fool the BAC test by eating mints, drinking mouthwash or eating onions. This doesn’t work, and mouthwash contains alcohol, so your level could increase if this is the route you choose. Medications that you take can also affect your BAC.

False blood tests

Blood tests are more accurate than the others, but there are factors that can affect a blood test for alcohol level. Coagulation, or blood clotting and becoming solid, is one factor that can have a different result than the true one. The medical facility not using proper sterilizing techniques or mixing up someone’s test with another are other factors affecting your blood alcohol test.

Urine testing

Urine alcohol testing isn’t used very often to determine intoxication because this test isn’t as accurate. The officer can’t perform a urine test on the side of the road, and the time waiting to get to the station can affect the BAC. Alcohol also can take up to two hours to get into urine and remain there for up to twenty four hours. In other words, this is no proof they were under the influence when they were stopped.

Reasons for BAC testing

A BAC test is performed to find out if your are driving while intoxicated, but there are other reasons for the test to be performed. If a person is in an altered state like confusion or a coma, a test may be needed to determine the reason. A test may be needed if a person prohibited from drinking is suspected of it such as a minor or someone enrolled in a treatment program.

Consequences of a high BAC level

The number of times you have had a DUI and the amount of your BAC will be factors in determining what your sentencing will be. If you refuse to take a BAC test, this can affect what the judge decides. Refusing testing can cause you to receive higher fines and a longer jail sentence than if you had taken the test and been found intoxicated. You can also receive suspension or revocation of your drivers license.

Some judges may require the defendant to attend DUI school or perform community service as part of their sentencing. Alcohol treatment programs, ignition interlock restrictions and forfeiting your vehicle are other forms of intervention.

Overall

If you are driving with a BAC level of 0.08 percent or higher in the U.S., you will face a judge. BAC levels are basically rough estimates, and there are many factors that can affect your level. An experienced attorney knows what factors to look at to determine if your BAC level should be dismissed.