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The basics about blood alcohol concentration in a DUI case

On Behalf of | Jan 2, 2024 | DUI |

Anyone who has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Oregon probably knows that there is one key to the case: the prosecution must prove that the driver was actually intoxicated while behind the wheel. These days, a crucial piece of evidence helps the prosecution with that element of the case – a measure of the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration, commonly referred to as BAC.

BAC basics

The most basic definition of BAC is that it is a measure of the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream at any given point in time. Most of our readers know that 0.08% is the “legal limit” for alcohol in the bloodstream for a driver and, if a driver’s BAC is above that legal limit, the driver could be subjected to arrest for DUI. What that 0.08% number means is that there are 0.08 milligrams per deciliter of alcohol for every 100 milliliters of blood.

Now, that is a very scientific sounding explanation for BAC, so how is such scientific evidence collected by a law enforcement official at the scene of a DUI investigation? Well, most commonly, a preliminary detection of a suspect’s BAC level is made with a handheld device, commonly called a breathalyzer. The breathalyzer, if calibrated correctly, can detect a person’s BAC at the moment of the DUI investigation – as long as the suspect is capable of breathing into the machine. Later on, a most sensitive and more powerful BAC detector may be used after the arrest to get a better reading on the BAC.

If you have been arrested for DUI in Oregon, your BAC – and how it was determined – will likely be the key to the ultimate result of your case. Be sure to have your options reviewed to make plans for the best possible criminal defense strategy.