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Testing Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in California

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) & SF Bay Area DUI

Each state has it own laws regarding BAC. In California, it is unlawful to be operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or greater. If you are under the age of 21, it is illegal to drive while having a BAC of .01% or greater.  BAC is generally measured as mass per volume. This means that a BAC of .08% equals .08 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of a person's blood. When BAC reaches a certain level, a driver's physical coordination, mental alertness, reaction time, and critical thinking skills are all negatively impacted.

In order to determine a driver's BAC, the officer executing the arrest will administer a breath or blood test. When the results of the test show that the driver has a BAC of .08% or greater, he or she will be arrested for DUI (driving under the influence).

BAC Testing in California

A driver's BAC is determined by administering a breath, blood, and/or urine test at the time of the offense.

Breath testing is one of the means used by the police to gather evidence in DUI cases. The officer will use a device that measures an individual's BAC after he or she breathes into the device for a specific amount of time. To conduct a breath test, an officer will likely have the driver blow into a handheld device called a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) device. In almost all cases, the PAS test is optional and is different than the required breath test taken at the police station.

Blood testing is also used by the police to establish blood alcohol levels. A blood sample must be drawn by a medically trained technician in a medically approved manner and will then be sent to the proper location in order to have the sample tested. As opposed to breath samples, a blood sample can be retested if necessary. Urine is not often used as a chemical test.  However, the process of retrieving a urine sample is similar to that of a blood sample. Once produced, a urine sample will be sent to a lab to determine the driver's BAC or drug content. 

BAC Testing Issues in Alameda and Contra Costa County

If you were given a breath or other chemical test and failed, do not assume that you will automatically be found guilty! There may have been variables involved that ultimately led to false results. These variables can include, but are not limited to:

  • Operator error
  • Radio frequency interference
  • Mechanical defects
  • Weight and gender
  • Physical disabilities
  • Type of alcohol consumed
  • Eating prior to taking the test
  • Prescription drug tolerance 
  • Drug tolerance 

Contact the Top Bay Area DUI Attorney, Lynn Gorelick

If you have been arrested for DUI in Alameda or Contra Costa County, contact a local and experienced DUI defense attorney who will listen to the facts of your specific case and help you through the process.

Ms.Gorelick has been trained at Axiom Laboratory to operate and analyze blood samples using gas chromatography which is the method employed by the laboratories analyzing blood for the police. Her training and experience and enhanced understanding of the science in this area enhances her ability to defend your case.

Ms. Gorelick has also been trained on the operation of the hand held testing devices used by the police as well as the breath testing devices used at the jails and police stations.

Ms. Gorelick owns a preliminary alcohol testing device (PAS). Ms. Gorelick has been defending individuals in the area for more than 37 years. After an arrest, do not hesitate to contact Ms. Gorelick in order to schedule an initial consultation. Call Gorelick Law Offices at (510) 785-1444 or (925) 847-3006.

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