Information Regarding Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)


You have likely heard the acronym BAC, which stands for blood alcohol content or blood alcohol concentration, numerous times in conjunction with discussions about driving under the influence (DUI). BAC is highly important in DUI cases, as proof of a certain level of alcohol present in your blood is often the primary evidence against you in a DUI case. BAC is tested by either a breath test or a blood test, and the legal limit for BAC in Colorado is 0.08 percent. If you test higher than 0.08 percent, the court will permissibly infer that you were under the influence and you may face harsh penalties for DUI.

Many people do not fully understand how BAC works or why it is so important. Your BAC will rise the more drinks you have within a certain period of time. Alcohol affects each individual differently, of course, depending on many factors such as gender, weight, medical conditions, whether the individual recently ate a meal, how fast the drinking occurred, and more. For example, on average, it may take four drinks (one drink every forty minutes) for a 200 pound man to reach the legal limit, while it may only take a 120 pound woman two drinks.

Additionally, depending on tolerance for alcohol or lack thereof, some people may feel impaired after only one drink, even though their BAC is lower than 0.08 percent. In such instances, you may still face legal consequences for impaired driving despite having a lower BAC if a law enforcement officer believes your abilities are impaired.

Effects on driving ability

Though BAC affects everyone in a different manner, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that research shows the following effects on driving may develop at the following BAC levels:

  • 0.02 percent–divided attention, difficulty multitasking, decrease in visual functions
  • 0.05 percent–decreased coordination, decreased reflexes to emergency situations, lack of control when steering
  • 0.08 percent–perception impairments, lack of control over speed, decreased concentration and ability to process information, short-term memory issues
  • 0.10 percent–Lack of control over braking or remaining in one lane, substantial deterioration of concentration and reaction time
  • 0.15 percent–Significant impairment in concentration, visual and auditory perception, and the ability to control the vehicle

Simply because a breath or blood test reports that your BAC is over the legal limit does not guarantee that you will be convicted of DUI, however. These tests can be inaccurate and an experienced DUI attorney can fully investigate the circumstances in your case to identify any possible mistakes that were made during BAC testing or processing of test results. If your attorney can cast sufficient doubt on the test results, there may be little or no other evidence of your BAC to use against you and your case may likely be dismissed.

If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI or are currently facing charges, your first call should be to an experienced Denver DUI defense attorney at the Tiftickjian Law Firm. We will aggressively defend you in a DUI case, so contact us today for assistance.

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