Orange County DUI Lawyers Explain the Rising Blood Alcohol Defense

Orange County DUI Lawyers Explain the Rising Blood Alcohol Defense

California DUI laws prohibit driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher. The “rising blood alcohol” defense is one way that Orange County DUI attorneys challenge the results of a chemical test. This defense is based on the idea that a breath or blood test obtained some time after you were behind the wheel of your car does not reflect your actual blood alcohol content at the time of the driving. That is to say, your blood alcohol content taken at a later time may be higher because alcohol takes time to be absorbed into the bloodstream. A skilled Orange County DUI lawyer can use this distinction to prove that the driver was under the legal limit while driving, even though the test results were .08 or higher.

Alcohol Absorption and Elimination

After consuming alcohol, your BAC rises gradually as the alcohol enters your blood stream. Ultimately, your BAC reaches a peak concentration and begins to fall as your body breaks the alcohol down. If you took a breath or blood test while you BAC was still rising, the results will be higher than your BAC was at an earlier time while you were driving.

The time it takes for an individual’s BAC to reach the peak and begin to fall depends on various factors including weight and body composition, gender, food consumed, strength of drink and rate of drinking, medications, and drugs. Since it can take up to several hours for alcohol to be fully absorbed into the blood stream, an individual’s BAC may continue to rise for a while after he or she is arrested.

Is the Rising Alcohol Defense Appropriate for Your Case?

The best cases for the rising alcohol defense are those in which the individual: (1) had a BAC that was not significantly over the legal limit; (2) was arrested very soon after his or her last drink; and (3) performed well on any field sobriety tests.

There is a formula for estimating a person’s BAC at an earlier time from the person’s later test results (a process known as retrograde extrapolation). The formula uses the amount of alcohol consumed, the time when it was consumed, the blood alcohol concentration from the test, and the time when the test was administered.

Your Orange County DUI attorney will need to know what time you started to drink and when you stopped, what and how much you had to drink, what time you began to drive and when you stopped, and what time you provided a sample for testing. An analysis of all this information together will provide a clearer picture to your Orange County DUI lawyer in order to determine the viability of the rising alcohol defense in your case.

Get Help With Your Orange County DUI Case

An arrest for DUI does not have to result in a conviction. Orange County DUI lawyers at Coffey and Coffey have helped many clients fight drunk driving charges. Even if you tested above the legal limit, we can help. We will scrutinize the prosecution’s evidence to seek the best possible result on your behalf. We can explain what challenges are appropriate in your case and possibly even keep the test results out of court entirely. For a free consultation, please contact the dedicated Orange County DUI attorneys at Coffey and Coffey today.