Blood Alcohol Concentration: Why It’s Tested and How It Affects Your Case
Measuring Blood Alcohol Concentration
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is a measurement of the percent of alcohol in your blood by volume. Typically, BAC is assessed using a breath or blood test. In Texas, a BAC of .08% is the threshold of legal intoxication. Thus, if you are caught driving with a BAC of .08% or higher, you can face charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI.) Other methods of assessing intoxication, such as field sobriety tests, are far more subjective. Because blood alcohol theory is backed by science, the criminal court system relies heavily on these tests results when prosecuting DWI cases.
Accurate or Approximate?
To generalize, BAC test results serve as evidence of intoxication (or lack thereof). Indeed, BAC test results can make some cases appear open and shut. Many drivers who “blow” a .08% or higher on a breathalyzer test convince themselves there is no hope. In reality, BAC test results are not infallible. The method through which the test is administered, the equipment or materials used to collect the sample and the analysis procedure can impact the accuracy and reliability of BAC tests.
The BAC Test
In most cases, Texas law enforcement will require a DWI suspect to submit to a BAC test either by providing a “deep lung” air sample via a breathalyzer machine or by a blood draw, which is obtained and analyzed in a lab. Refusing to submit to a BAC test has consequences under Texas’ implied consent law. The implied consent law requires all drivers arrested for a DWI to submit to a BAC test, also called a chemical test. If you refuse, you will potentially face an automatic license suspension, separate from any court-imposed license suspension for a conviction. However, if you request a hearing within 15 days of refusing to submit to either a breath or blood test, then your license may not be suspended. Also, law enforcement can obtain a warrant from a magistrate ordering you to provide a blood sample. A refusal to submit to a blood draw in compliance with a warrant permits law enforcement to withdraw your blood using force, if necessary, so it is highly recommended that you submit to a blood draw after law enforcement has obtained a warrant and presented it to you. You can always challenge the probable cause for obtaining the warrant at a later date.
No Matter Your BAC, an Experienced Attorney Can Help
Refusing to take a BAC test can limit the evidence the prosecution has to use against you in your case. However, your refusal to submit to a test will result in an automatic license suspension. And, it’s crucial to understand that even in absence of a BAC test, you can still be convicted. The prosecution has to prove you were driving while intoxicated, and there are other, albeit less objective, methods to accomplish this. Due to these factors, it’s vital you work closely with a highly experienced Dallas-Fort Worth DWI defense attorney if you are facing DWI charges. Even if you think you are as good as guilty, an attorney can probably point out you have more options and leverage than you think.
If you’re facing DWI or DUI charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to fight your charges. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.