Blood Alcohol Level (BAL)
Florida law is very clear regarding what is considered to be driving under
the influence. Per Florida Statutes §316.193, it is considered a
criminal offense to either be driving when normal faculties are impaired
or when the blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent or more. While the language
may be well-known, it is a little less clear to know what "blood
alcohol level" is referring to exactly. Also known as blood alcohol
content or blood alcohol concentration, this is simply referring to the
amount of alcohol that is in an individual's blood at any given time;
this is considered to be the most accurate way to determine a level of
About the Effects of BAL
Studies have shown that certain BALs will result in certain levels of impairment.
For example, most people will appear to be completely normal between 0.010
and 0.029 percent; however, the higher the blood alcohol level goes, the
more exaggerated the symptoms will become.
The estimated effects of alcohol at different BAL include the following:
0.030 to 0.059 -
Most people will begin to feel euphoric at this level. It is commonly
known as being "buzzed" or "tipsy." Other behavior
symptoms include general relaxation and decreased inhibition. It may affect
concentration but the symptoms are generally unnoticeable.
0.06 to 0.09 -
Begins to become legally intoxicated. Most will have less acute feelings
and will become more extroverted. They will also struggle with their reasoning
and judgment skills. Other impairments include depth perception and peripheral vision.
0.10 to 0.19 -
When an individual reaches this level they will often begin to over-express
themselves, resulting in wild emotional swings. Impairments begin to affect
reflexes and reaction time, as well as general motor control. Many will
stagger or slur their speech.
How much do I have to drink to be "under the influence"?
This is a common question. The truth, however, is that every person is
different and they will need to drink different amounts to reach different
blood alcohol levels. Progressive.com offers an interactive calculator
where you can "estimate" what your blood alcohol level would
be depending on several factors - including weight, how many drinks you
consumed, how long you were drinking and your gender. For example, if
you were a 120 pound female who drank three 12 ounce beers over a one
hour period, your BAL is estimated to be at 0.10 percent. If, however,
you were a 200 pound male, it would only be at 0.04 percent.
The calculator is based off a basic formula provided by the
NHTSA, however, it is anything but conclusive. It is not completely accurate
and again is only used to demonstrate how much different people will be
affected differently by alcohol. Therefore, there really is no concrete
evidence to how much you can drink to be considered legally drunk. The
truth is that if you want to avoid a DUI arrest the only surefire way
is to not drink and drive - ever.
Unfortunately, not drinking and driving may not always be enough to protect
you. False arrests or wrongful accusations can happen all the time. No
matter whether you have been wrongfully charged or even if you had something
to drink and are facing charges that are not proportional to the offense,
you can trust in our legal team. We know what you are facing and we are
dedicated to ensuring that your legal rights are protected to the full
extent of the law. You can trust that we will do everything possible to
How Blood Alcohol Level is Calculated
There are numerous ways in which the BAL of a defendant may be tested.
A preliminary step that many law enforcement officers will take involve
field sobriety tests; this, however, is only an estimate and is by no means a completely accurate
form. More accurate forms of
blood alcohol testing involve chemical tests such as the
blood or urine tests. All of these are considered fairly accurate, but they
are not flawless; in fact, there are many ways they may be challenged
by an experienced
Tampa DUI defense attorney.
For example, the following may be asked about the breath test:
- Did the defendant take a deep breath from the lungs?
- Was the machine properly calibrated?
- Was the test administered during the absorptive phase?
- Was mouth alcohol present during the test?
- Did the defendant have diabetes?
Any of the above could cause the test could return a fault reading. Similarly,
a defense lawyer could attack the prosecution's case regarding a
blood test. Although extremely accurate, there are still errors that can be made
which affect the overall result. If the blood was not properly stored,
did not have the correct amount of anticoagulants or preservatives in
the vial, was not properly inverted following the draw, was not refrigerated
or was not properly labeled, it could be challenged. Even something as
simple as swabbing the draw spot with an alcohol-based cleanser could
result in faulty readings. Therefore, it is extremely important that no
time is wasted in consulting a knowledgeable attorney.
By working with our firm, you can rest assured knowing that we will do
everything possible to challenge the evidence from blood alcohol testing.
Call today for a free consultation!