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Blood alcohol concentration in drunk driving cases

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2018 | DUI

Government crash statistics reveal that 29 road users die each day in accidents involving motorists under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Police departments in Kentucky and around the country draw blood or use sophisticated breath testing equipment to find out whether or not drivers consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel and determine their blood alcohol concentrations, and the results of these tests are usually the key pieces of evidence in drunk driving cases.

Motorists in Kentucky with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 percent or more are considered legally intoxicated under the state’s DUI laws, but impairment begins at just .02 percent according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal health watchdog says that judgement and attention may be compromised after only one drink, and a BAC of .05 percent can lead drivers to attempt increasingly risky and aggressive maneuvers. This is because alcohol reduces inhibitions and boosts confidence while affecting concentration and making coordinated actions more difficult.

At the legal BAC limit of .08 percent, motorists are considered a danger to themselves and others. Muscle coordination deteriorates significantly at this level of intoxication, which is why drunk drivers often slur their words or find it difficult to maintain their balance. Drivers with BACs of .08 percent or higher also find it far harder to process information quickly, assess risks wisely and judge speeds accurately.

While the results of breath tests may be compelling scientific evidence of intoxication, there are situations where they may be unreliable even when the equipment used has been properly maintained and strict testing protocols have been followed. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to have breath test results suppressed and drunk driving charges dismissed when elevated BAC levels may have been caused by residual alcohol from mouthwashes or cough syrups.