There are a number of common defenses used to handle charges for driving under the influence (DUI) in California. One that you may have heard of is the rising blood alcohol content (BAC) defense. You can use this article to learn more about the rising BAC defense for DUI cases.
The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can also help you consider other defenses if you are accused of a DUI in California. You can call us at (310) 896-2723 to allow DUI lawyers in Los Angeles to assess your specific legal needs.
Understanding Rising BAC Levels in California
Before we dig into the rising BAC defense, it’s important that we cover the way the human body processes alcohol. When you drink alcohol, it is:
- Absorbed in the stomach and small intestine
- Moved into your bloodstream
- Slowly filtered out by your liver
Each step in the digestion and breakdown of alcohol takes time. Alcohol does not pass immediately into your bloodstream after you drink it. Therefore, your BAC rises in the time after you drink alcohol, instead of jumping immediately to its final percentage.
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Focusing on the Rising BAC Defense
The rising BAC defense can be used to argue that, while your BAC was elevated when it was tested by a law enforcement officer, it was not over the legal limit when you were driving. Basically, it requires your lawyer to argue that the alcohol you drank had not been absorbed into your bloodstream while you were behind the wheel.
Your lawyer may use the rising BAC defense if your BAC level was not tested immediately after your arrest. Sometimes, law enforcement officers delay the use of a chemical BAC test. This can allow your BAC to continue to rise, making it seem that you were driving under the influence when you were not.
Reviewing BAC Tests Used in California
Law enforcement officers in California can request that you complete a number of different BAC tests. You may be asked to complete a:
- Breath test
- Blood test
- Urine test
Breath tests and blood tests are more common, but urine tests are required in some situations. You are legally required to complete all BAC tests once you are arrested. You may also have to complete a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test if you are under 21 or on DUI probation.
Note that refusing a legally requested BAC test can lead to the automatic suspension of your driver’s license. Drivers who refuse a BAC test may also have time added to their jail sentence if they are convicted of a DUI in the court system of California.
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Considering California’s Legal BAC Levels
You should be aware that California requires drivers to keep their BAC below 0.08% in most situations. Drivers under 21 must maintain a BAC under 0.01%. Commercial drivers have to keep their BAC under 0.04%.
It’s important that you understand California’s BAC levels as they can impact the success of your rising BAC defense. The rising BAC defense is more likely to work if your BAC was close to the legal limit when you were finally tested.
If your BAC was significantly above the legal limit, for example, a rising BAC defense is unlikely to work. In this situation, the prosecution can argue that your BAC was already elevated when you were driving, and merely continued to increase once you were stopped.
In some cases, a different defense might work better to help you handle DUI charges. You can call (310) 896-2723 to speak with the professionals at the Simmrin Law Group today about other legal options.
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Contributing Factors to DUI Arrests in California
The rising BAC defense to DUI charges can work very well in some cases. However, it may not be effective if a law enforcement officer noticed aggravating factors before you were stopped. The prosecution may argue that you were impaired if you were:
- Swerving or driving aggressively
- Slurring when speaking to police officers
- Unable to complete a field sobriety test (FST)
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles may focus on different methods to build your defense in this situation.
Speak to a Lawyer About the Rising BAC Defense
The rising BAC defense can help you handle some DUI charges in California. However, this defense isn’t right for all DUI cases. You can find out if the rising BAC defense is right for you by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Just complete our online contact form or call (310) 896-2723 to learn more.
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