The Role of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in Virginia DUI Cases

If you or someone you care about are charged with a Virginia DUI, you need to understand about blood alcohol testing and how it will affect the case. A person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is important proof about whether they were intoxicated. Certain percentages may create a per se intoxication finding or even enhance the potential penalties you face. Blood alcohol tests are far from perfect, and mistakes made could create a powerful defense to the charges.

Our Manassas DUI lawyers teach you about blood alcohol content, how it is tested, and the impact it might have on your case. We help clients protect their constitutional rights whenever they face a DUI charge in Virginia. Schedule a consultation to get the help you deserve. 

What Is Blood Alcohol Content?

A person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood from drinking alcoholic beverages. Levels may range from 0%, to over 0.4%. The higher the number, the more alcohol is in a person’s bloodstream and the more likely they are to be intoxicated. 

When a person drinks faster than their liver can process alcohol, the BAC level increases. This causes intoxication and its general affects. A person’s BAC level will be affected by how much they drink, how quickly, their unique physical characteristics, and even how much food you ate before consuming alcohol.

What Do Different Blood Alcohol Content Levels Mean?

Every person is different, but the following BAC levels help you understand how blood alcohol levels affect people:

  • 0.0%: No alcohol in the blood (sober)
  • 0.02%: Slightly altered mood, relaxation, and altered judgment
  • 0.05%: Uninhibited feeling and lower alertness
  • 0.08%: Reduced muscle coordination, impaired reasoning and judgment. Also considered the per se intoxication level in Virginia
  • 0.15%: Nausea and vomiting, loss of balance, and lack of motor control
  • 0.20” to 0.30%: Confusion, vomiting, inability to remain awake
  • 0.40% or Higher: Potentially fatal levels of alcohol in the bloodstream that may cause coma or respiratory arrest

How Does the Prosecutor Use My BAC in a DUI Case?

During the traffic stop, the police officer likely asked you to test your BAC levels with a roadside breath test. They also likely tested your BAC with a test back at the station. This might include another breath test, a urine test, or a blood test. Your BAC level is important evidence in the case against you and should be carefully reviewed by your criminal defense attorney. 

Certain BAC levels have an impact on your criminal case, such as:

  • 0.02%: This BAC level is the per se limit for any person under the age of 21 as part of Virginia’s “zero tolerance” law for underage drinking.
  • 0.08%: The per se limit of intoxication for any driver. Any person with this BAC or higher is automatically considered intoxicated and in violation of the drunk driving laws.
  • 0.15%: A BAC of 0.15% will increase the penalties you face, even for a first-time DUI.
  • 0.20% or Higher: This BAC level will further increase the penalties you face.

A prosecutor will use the evidence they get about your BAC to help prove the case and potentially enhance the penalties you face.

Challenging Blood Alcohol Content Evidence

BAC testing is not foolproof and law enforcement make mistakes. When they do, you can fight back against this evidence. The following defense strategies may help you challenge BAC evidence:

  • Show that the test was performed incorrectly
  • Prove that law enforcement did not wait the appropriate amount of time before administering a breath test
  • File a suppression motion to exclude unconstitutionally collected evidence
  • Demonstrate that the testing equipment was not properly maintained

Speak to a Virginia DUI Defense Attorney

An experienced Virginia DUI defense attorney can help you challenge blood alcohol content results in your case to help defend your constitutional rights. We analyze your case and provide a personalized approach to your case.

The Virginia criminal defense lawyers from Battlefield Law Group PLLC use effective strategies to defend your DUI/DWI case. Contact us today for a free consultation.