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Blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is a measurement of the amount of ethyl alcohol circulating in an individual’s bloodstream. This measurement can be estimated by a breathalyzer or tested directly using a blood sample.
Blood Alcohol Concentration and DUI Arrest
Drivers are routinely asked to consent to a number of field sobriety tests upon contact with a law enforcement officer who smells the odor of an alcoholic beverage or detects other objective symptoms of alcohol impairment, such as bloodshot or watery eyes. Drivers are under no obligation to participate in field sobriety testing. Further, drivers over the age of 21 are not required to submit to a preliminary alcohol screening breath test.
The bulk of the evidence on which officers have to rely in deciding whether to make a DUI arrest is voluntarily provided by the driver during the officer’s pre-FST interrogation of the driver and throughout the roadside investigation. This same evidence makes up a large portion of the prosecution’s case in court.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has performed several studies attempting to correlate filed sobriety test performance with certain levels of blood alcohol concentration (i.e. >0.08%). The resulting statistics provide a bank of pseudo-science on which prosecutors and police rely to arrest and convict drivers of DUI. For example, many police officers erroneously believe that one can determine whether a person’s BAC is over the limit by looking for horizontal gaze nystagmus alone!
The reality for drivers who risk being on the road after having anything at all to drink is that upon contact with a police officer, he may determine alcohol impairment is present based solely on “objective symptoms” and/or the presence of HGN and affect an arrest. Many people are caught up in this dragnet, even when they did nothing wrong. This is why every DUI case must be examined by a skilled Irvine blood alcohol concentration attorney.
If arrested for suspicion of DUI, drivers in California are required to submit to a breath or blood alcohol test. Refusal to submit to post-arrest testing triggers a one-year suspension of driving privileges by the DMV and gives rise to a sentence enhancement in any resulting court case. If the enhancement is found to be true after a conviction occurs in court, a minimum jail term (two days) is required.
Blood Alcohol Concentration and License Suspension
If officers suspect an individual’s BAC is 0.08 percent or higher (0.01% for drivers under 21 or on DUI probation), or if the driver refuses to submit to a post-arrest chemical test, law enforcement will confiscate the driver’s license and issue a temporary driver’s license that also serves as notice of the impending suspension. Though the temporary permit allows the individual to drive for 30 days thereafter, the arrestee’s driver’s license is automatically suspended upon the expiration of those 30 days if the driver failed to request a hearing to contest the suspension within ten days of the alleged violation.
The first step we take on behalf of our clients is completion of a request for stay of suspension pending hearing with the DMV. This request prevents automatic suspension of our clients’ driving privileges and gives us an opportunity to challenge the DMV’s petition to suspend or revoke through the DMV’s driver safety office.
Inaccurate Blood Alcohol Test Results
Many people believe that blood alcohol tests are 100 percent accurate, however, this simply isn’t true. In many cases, it is later discovered the driver’s BAC level was inaccurately measured as result of many factors. The fact that the police rely on certain testing instruments does not mean that those machines are accurate. Encyclopedic knowledge of how these machines function is an essential weapon in arsenal of a top notch Irvine blood alcohol concentration attorney. More importantly, we know how the local police and experts present this information in court and at the DMV. The intimate knowledge of our opposition’s techniques that we have gained over years of practice puts us ahead of the prosecution in every case we argue.
Orange County and Irvine Blood Alcohol Concentration Attorney
Being charged with a DUI in Orange County is a serious matter that requires a skilled Irvine blood alcohol concentration attorney to expose the reasons for the best possible outcome. The DUI defense attorneys at The Law Offices of Todd Landgren are extraordinarily familiar with sobriety tests and factors affecting the measurement of blood alcohol levels. We have successfully helped hundreds of clients challenge their cases when it initially appeared that the prosecution had the needed evidence to obtain a conviction. If you have been arrested for a DUI related offense, protect yourself from the laundry list of ramifications by calling us immediately.