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What factors can affect a blood alcohol test result?

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2015 | Drunk Driving Charges |

Drivers who are suspected of drunk driving will typically be asked or required to undergo testing to measure how much alcohol is in a person’s body. If a driver has a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08 percent, he or she is considered legally intoxicated.

Many people already understand this, but in this post we will look at a few factors that could impact the accuracy of a blood alcohol test. In some cases, these factors could be the difference between being legally impaired and being just below the legal limit.

When alcohol is ingested, most of it is broken down in the body and the rest is released through breathing and urinating. While this is a very basic description of what happens when we drink, it can help us understand that outside factors as well as health complications can affect a BAC reading.

For instance, time can be a significant factor in a person’s BAC. Our bodies are very efficient and start to absorb the alcohol as soon as it enters the body. But according to WebMD, it takes about 60 minutes after drinking for the alcohol to reach its highest concentration in the blood. If that is when a person’s blood is tested, chances are the results will be much higher than if the test had been conducted just 30 minutes sooner or later.

If a person has not recently had anything to eat, this could also affect his or her BAC. The stomach and liver work together in digestion. If there is more food in the stomach, it could delay the absorption of alcohol into the blood. This means that two people who are the same size and have had the same amount to drink could still have very different BAC readings if one has recently eaten and the other has not.

Finally, medication could significantly affect BAC results. Some medications change a person’s biological response to alcohol while others can react poorly with alcohol and exacerbate the physical effects of drinking.

While there are many other factors that can dramatically impact a BAC test result, the few we have mentioned here can be easy to overlook. Colorado drivers should be aware of these issues and understand that they may also be relevant to a person’s DUI defense.

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