Every driver with a valid driver’s license is expected to be up to date with the laws governing the use of the road. Traffic laws have been designed with the intent to keep all road users safe. However, in some cases, due to carelessness, drivers may flout these laws.

One of the biggest problems for drivers is laws that clash with their lifestyle, that is, laws that impose certain limitations on what they can do. As a driver, it is expected that you should not be drunk driving.

DUI laws are designed to ensure that drivers who are operating vehicles or other heavy machinery are in a sound mental state to ensure their safety and the safety of other road users. When it comes to DUI offenses, there are certain things you need to know to protect your rights and decide whether or not you need a criminal defense attorney.

Here is some of the information you need to know regarding blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels and DUI cases:

BAC LEVELS

The BAC measurement is used to determine whether or not a driver is driving under the influence. The BAC level is a measurement of the amount of alcohol in the driver’s blood, which is used to determine whether or not the driver is operating a vehicle while intoxicated. 

Blood, urine, and breath tests can all be used to measure a driver’s BAC level. In California, law enforcement officers typically rely on breath and blood tests.

There are a number of factors that can affect a driver’s BAC level. Generally,  as your alcohol consumption increases, so does your BAC level. In addition, the faster the alcoholic beverages are consumed, the higher the BAC level will climb.

A driver’s BAC level may also be affected by whether or not they have food in their stomach. A driver who has had a large meal and topped it off with a glass of wine will typically have a lower BAC than someone who drank a glass of wine on an empty stomach. 

Your gender can also affect your BAC level. Alcohol is water soluble, and since women typically have less water in their bodies than men, their BAC levels tend to increase more rapidly.

It is important to note that your BAC level is not a reflection of how intoxicated you feel. In some cases, two glasses of wine may spike your BAC level to as high as 0.02% even though you still feel in control of the decisions you are making.

BASIS FOR A DUI STOP

It is important for every driver to understand that a police officer cannot just pull them over based on a whim. The police officer must have “reasonable suspicion” that you’ve broken the law in order to pull you over.

This does not mean that the officer must suspect that you are intoxicated. If the officer reasonably suspects that you have violated any law, they can pull you over. For example, an officer might pull you over if they observe you swerving, speeding, running a red light, or violating any other traffic law.

If the officer pulls you over without reasonable suspicion, this can be used as a defense to get the case dismissed.

DUI STOPS: ESTABLISHING BAC AS BASIS FOR DUI

Drivers may be pulled over for a number of reasons ranging from speeding, running a red light, or in some cases, on suspicion that the driver may have been driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances. If you happen to have been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, chances are high that you may become agitated instantly. However, it is recommended that you remain calm throughout the conversation with the officer. 

Be polite even when you know you have done nothing wrong. The officer is obligated to ask you questions including whether or not you’ve been drinking. However, you are not obligated to answer these questions. 

During the stop, the police officer will be looking for clues that indicate you are under the influence of alcohol. If the officer notices the driver’s red eyes, slurred speech, or strong alcoholic odor, for example, he may request that the driver exit the vehicle and perform a series of field sobriety tests.

The police officer may also seek to establish the driver’s BAC through the use of a breathalyzer. If a driver’s breathalyzer result is higher than the legal limit, which is 0.08%, they may be arrested for drunk driving.

REFUSING THE DUI TEST

If your BAC is above the legal limit, the police officer may arrest you for DUI. However, in some cases, drivers may wish to refuse the breathalyzer test to avoid a DUI arrest. Is this possible?

It’s important to know the consequences you stand to face for refusing a DUI test. The field sobriety tests are not mandatory, which means you can refuse to take them without facing legal consequences.

But, under the implied consent laws in California, drivers must submit to breath or blood tests at the request of law enforcement officers. Refusing a breath or blood DUI test can lead to legal penalties, including an automatic driver’s license suspension. It’s also important to note that refusing the test will not help you avoid an arrest. Law enforcement officers can still arrest you for DUI even if you choose not to submit to the chemical test.