Following a traffic stop, if you will be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI) will largely depend on your blood alcohol concentration, otherwise known as BAC. For example, if a breath or blood test shows you had a BAC of 0.08 percent, you will likely face DUI charges as you are presumed to be under the influence when you are over this legal limit. Additionally, under Colorado law, if your BAC is at least 0.05 percent and the law enforcement officer alleges you showed other signs of impairment, you may face a DWAI charge.
BAC plays a significant role in many DUI and DWAI cases, especially when the suspect undergoes a chemical test to determine BAC. For this reason, it is a good idea to understand how BAC works and how it may affect your ability to drive safely.
Effects of Alcohol in the Bloodstream
After you drink alcohol, it enters the bloodstream and reaches your brain shortly thereafter. The alcohol can have the following types of effects once it reaches your brain:
- Lack of self-control and good judgment;
- Clumsiness due to lessened coordination; and
- Deficiency in your vision, hearing, and other senses.
People will feel varying levels of these effects based on several factors. Generally, heavy drinkers with more of a “tolerance” will take a higher BAC (0.08 or more) to feel the above effects while individuals who rarely drink may begin to feel the effects after only one drink (around 0.02 BAC).
Generally speaking, it takes approximately one hour for a single drink to fully absorb into the bloodstream. However, one drink may affect different individuals’ BACs in different ways. For example, a small person weighing 100 pounds may reach levels around 0.038 for one single drink, while a 240 pound individual would only have around 0.016 BAC after one drink. Because BAC can vary so widely, you should always be aware of your individual limit in order to estimate when you may be over the legal limit to drive.
You may generally estimate your personal rise in BAC per drink by dividing 0.038 by the amount you weigh in pounds. However, know that this calculation is not always accurate as the rise in BAC can also depend on how much you had to eat prior to drinking and other factors. Some people choose to carry pocket-sized breathalyzers to more accurately test their BAC to know when they should not get behind the wheel. There are also several smartphone apps that work to gauge your BAC.
An Experienced Denver DUI Defense Lawyer Can Help You with Your Case
Fortunately for those individuals facing DUI charges, there are numerous possible legal defenses available to defend against the allegations. The exact defenses available to you will depend on the particular circumstances of your case and an experienced DUI defense attorney will be able to identify the defenses relevant to your situation. If you have been arrested or charged, call the Denver office of the Tiftickjian Law Firm for help today at (303) DUI-5280.