Blood Alcohol Content and Drunk Driving
DUI Lawyer in Santa Barbara
Arrested for drunk driving in Santa Barbara? You probably have a lot of questions. An attorney from Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP can help you find the answers. The term "blood alcohol content" refers to the percentage of alcohol (by weight) found in your blood. BAC is usually cited in reference to drunk driving. For example: a BAC of .10% indicates that one tenth of your blood is, by volume, alcohol. Although alcohol affects everyone differently, the general level of impairment is directly related to your BAC.
BAC and Alcohol Impairment
Most adults do not feel the effects of alcohol impairment until their BAC reaches .03%. However, subtle effects can be detected through testing. Once your BAC reaches a certain level (about .03%), behavior and faculties may become impaired:
- .03% - .059%: Once your BAC reaches this level, your ability to concentrate may be impaired. The average adult may feel a mild sense of euphoria as well. Other behavioral changes include talkativeness, a lack of inhibition, and relaxation.
- .06% - .09%: At this point, your feelings may become blunted. Additionally, you may begin to feel extroverted show a general lack of restraint. Your reasoning, depth perception, and peripheral vision may be inhibited.
- .10% - .19%: This level of impairment can be characterized by mood swings, overly expressive behavior, anger, sadness, and other strong emotions. Additionally, your reflexes, reaction time, motor skills, and speech may become impaired.
- .20% - .29%: You may experience severe gross motor impairment, unconsciousness and memory blackouts once the body reaches this level of impairment. Other behavior changes include the inability to understand and stupor.
My BAC was less than the legal limit. Can is still face a DUI conviction?
Yes. You can be accused and convicted of drunk driving even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is less than the legal limit. In all fifty states, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08% or more. According to the California Vehicle Code § 23152(a), it is unlawful for a driver to operate a vehicle under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug. In other words, it is illegal to operate a vehicle if your ability to drive is impaired by a controlled substance – even if your BAC is less than .08%.