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Understanding blood alcohol content in a drunk driving arrest

Understanding blood alcohol content in a drunk driving arrest

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2023 | Criminal Defense, Drunk Driving Defense |

In Florida, when a person is arrested for drunk driving, they will have many concerns. That includes the prospect of jail time, fines and losing their driver’s license. Other problems that can come up include the potential conviction preventing them from getting certain jobs, hindering their education objectives and leading to raised insurance rates.

That does not mean a conviction is automatic. A key to the case is the blood alcohol content when the driver is tested. People need to understand how their BAC will impact the case. Often, they will view this in a negative sense, but it could also be fundamental to the defense. Depending on the BAC, the person could have a good chance of effectively fighting the charges.

Florida law and the presumption of impairment

Under state law, if a driver registers a BAC of 0.08%, they are considered impaired. A key part of a case, however, is whether the person was impaired if they registered a BAC below 0.08%.

Impairment means that the driver’s faculties were insufficient to safely operate the vehicle. That includes their judgment, vision, reaction time and to behave reasonably when driving. Those who register a BAC of 0.05% are presumed to be able to function normally despite having alcohol in their system.

If the BAC is between 0.05% and 0.08%, then it is largely up to the law enforcement officer’s judgment as to whether they were impaired. There is no presumption that they were unable to function normally. If the officer says they were impaired, there could be an avenue to combat that assertion.

Still, other evidence can be used to decide they were under the influence so their faculties were impaired. If they slurred their words, that could be part of the justification for a drunk driving arrest. Registering 0.08% or higher is viewed as evidence that the person was under the influence and their faculties were impaired.

There are ways to fight drunk driving charges

The smallest details can make a major difference in reaching a successful outcome when a person is charged with drunk driving. Looking at the BAC levels and whether the driver should have been deemed impaired can be a critical part of the case. This is one area of drunk driving defense that might not get significant attention, but could be effective in avoiding a conviction.