Drinking and driving remains one of the most common crimes in South Florida, despite numerous ad campaigns warning drivers of the dangers of doing it, and the serious drawbacks a charge can have on a person’s life, even if they’re never convicted. Drunk driving claims thousands of lives each year, and police departments across the country make it a top priority to get DUI arrests.
If you’re stopped for DUI in West Palm Beach, a competent attorney may be able to use one or more defenses to challenge the charge against you. One of these, the rising blood alcohol defense, may work if you took a breath test that produced a BAC of 0.08 or higher.
What is rising blood alcohol?
As a person is drinking and immediately after they stop, their blood alcohol concentration rises rapidly. The rising blood alcohol eventually hits a peak and starts a gradual decline anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 or more hours after consuming alcohol. So, if a person is investigated for DUI in that time frame, his or her BAC could be rising while the police officer conducts their investigation.
Ultimately, it’s not uncommon for a driver’s BAC to be higher at the time of the stop than it was before the police officer flagged him for DUI. It’s actually possible for a driver’s BAC to have been below the legal limit before he produced potentially incriminating evidence.
How does BAC fluctuate after drinking?
An individual’s BAC levels off at different rates for each person because everyone metabolizes alcohol differently. A person’s BAC starts a decline that’s more gradual than the rate at which it rose after about 2 hours. When your BAC drops, it’s sometimes known as “falling blood alcohol.”
Since the liver can only metabolize one drink every hour, it takes the body a longer period to rid itself of alcohol when it takes in more than one drink per hour. The more drinks you’ve had in an hour, the longer it takes for your BAC to descend to a level that’s considered safe for driving.
How quickly does BAC rise after drinking?
Different factors affect the rate at which your body absorbs and eliminates alcohol, and thus how quickly your BAC rises after drinking, including:
- The type of alcohol consumed (hard liquor contains a higher concentration of alcohol than beer)
- Whether you ate while you drank or drank on an empty stomach
- How fast you drank
- Your body type and body fat percentage
- Your sex
- Your functional tolerance for alcohol
- Whether the alcohol interacted with any drugs in your system
- Whether you were ill or fatigued
How can rising blood alcohol help my case?
It’s rare for a police officer to administer a DUI test immediately after pulling a driver over, meaning that if you’re stopped for DUI, several minutes are sure to pass between being pulled over and submitting to a chemical test. Even more time gets passed from your last drink to breathing into the Intoxilyzer or allowing a blood test, since the officer needs to arrest you before taking you to the nearest station for testing.
You might breathe into a portable breathalyzer, register 0.08, be arrested, and then test on an Intoxilyzer at the police station and register higher than 0.08, which seems illogical until you understand the phenomena of rising blood alcohol. To prove that your blood alcohol was still increasing, you’d need testimony from an expert witness.
When pursuing the rising blood alcohol defense, a toxicologist would need to study all the facts of your case to establish a timeline for your BAC. They would want to show that your BAC was below the legal limit at the time of the stop and before the officer arrested you.
Trust Our Firm with Big Results for DUI Defense in West Palm Beach
At The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, we’ve dedicated the bulk of our resources to helping people fight DUI charges for more than 25 years. Our goal is to fight to preserve your driver’s license and keep you from spoiling your future because of a single mistake. Attorney Brian Gabriel has extensive knowledge of toxicology testing and has led an effort in the county to prevent DUI BAC test results from being used as evidence in court.
Call 561-622-5575 or complete our contact form for a free consultation.