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Factors That Can Affect Your Blood Alcohol Content

Daniel J. Larin, P.C. Feb. 26, 2024

In Michigan, the laws regarding driving under the influence are quite stringent. Rather than using the term "DUI", we refer to these charges as operating while intoxicated (OWI). If a driver aged 21 or older has a BAC of 0.08% or higher, they're considered legally intoxicated. For those under 21, the threshold is just 0.02%. 

When discussing DUI or OWI, you'll often hear us mention 'blood alcohol content' or BAC. This can be determined using several chemical testing methods such as blood, breath, and urine tests.

Regardless of how these tests are administered, you may ask yourself, what if alcohol isn't the main factor contributing to my BAC level?

Outside factors can influence your BAC. When it happens, you need to understand your rights and options.  

Other Properties Influencing Your BAC  

Numerous factors can influence your BAC, and it's important to consider these when understanding the results of a BAC test.

Some of these elements may include: 

  • Body size and composition: The more water in the body, the more diluted the alcohol concentration becomes. Larger bodies usually contain more water, which can result in a more diluted blood alcohol concentration than in smaller bodies. Similarly, muscle tissue contains more water than fat tissue, potentially influencing BAC levels. 

  • Food consumption: Having food in your stomach can slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. This is because digestion delays the alcohol from reaching the small intestine, where most of it gets absorbed. Fatty foods, in particular, take longer to digest and are thus more effective at slowing down alcohol absorption. 

  • Rate of alcohol consumption: If you consume more than one standard drink per hour, your BAC will likely increase. This is because the alcohol is entering your system faster than your body can metabolize it. 

  • Individual physiological factors: Other factors like hormone levels, any medication you're taking, your mood or fatigue level, as well as the type of drink or mixer, can also impact your BAC. 

  • Testing during the absorption phase: It takes about 45 minutes to three hours for alcohol to become fully absorbed into your body. So, if you drink just before getting in your car, the alcohol might not cause impairment while you're driving, even if a chemical test administered later shows a BAC over the legal limit. 

Understanding these factors can be crucial in challenging the accuracy of BAC test results, especially if they have led to OWI charges. At Daniel J. Larin, P.C., we possess the technical and legal know-how to question the reliability of BAC tests and will work tirelessly to defend your rights. 

Possible Defenses  

Navigating the legal system alone can be intimidating and complex, especially when facing DUI or OWI charges. However, our team at Daniel J. Larin, P.C. is equipped with the requisite knowledge and experience to challenge these charges effectively.

Here are some defenses that we often explore:

  • Challenging the accuracy of BAC test results: Breathalyzer or blood tests are not infallible and can be prone to errors due to various reasons ranging from faulty equipment to improper testing procedures. Additionally, certain medical conditions may affect the results. We have the technical and legal experience to question the reliability of these tests. 

  • Contesting the probable cause: The police must have a valid reason, or probable cause, to suspect that you were driving under the influence before they can pull you over and administer a breathalyzer or blood test. If the officer lacked probable cause, we can challenge the legality of the stop, which could potentially lead to the dismissal of the charges. 

  • Highlighting field sobriety test errors: Field sobriety tests are subjective and can be influenced by factors like fatigue, nerves, and physical or medical conditions. We can scrutinize these tests for any inconsistencies or errors that might have led to an unfair assessment. 

  • Addressing rising blood alcohol content: Alcohol continues to get metabolized in your body over time, which means your BAC might continue to rise even after you've stopped drinking. It's possible that while your BAC was under the legal limit while driving, it rose above the limit by the time the test was administered. We can use this argument as a plausible defense. 

  • Exposing improper police procedures: Law enforcement officers must adhere to specific procedures when administering breathalyzer tests, collecting evidence, and making arrests. Any deviation from these procedures or violation of your rights can be grounds to challenge the evidence, which could lead to reduced or dismissed charges. 

Strong Legal Representation  

If you or someone you know is facing OWI charges, it's crucial to consult with us as your DUI defense attorneys. We'll evaluate the facts of your case and determine the strongest defense strategy tailored to your unique situation.

At Daniel J. Larin, P.C., we are committed to providing you with the best possible defense tailored to your specific circumstances. If you're facing OWI charges in Birmingham, Michigan, or throughout Rochester Hills, Oakland, Macomb, or Wayne counties, allow us to help you navigate this challenging time.