Understanding the Difference Between Blood Alcohol Content and Breath Alcohol Content

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Blood alcohol levels are typically used in the prosecution of a driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated case. Many people are familiar with these terms, yet don’t fully understand what they mean. What does a person need to know if they are charged with this crime when it comes to their blood alcohol level?

What Is Blood Alcohol Content?

When someone talks about blood alcohol content, they are referring to a person’s blood alcohol level or their blood alcohol concentration. All three terms mean the same thing and simply describe how much alcohol is in a person’s blood. Every state in the nation prohibits a person driving when their blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher. Nevertheless, a person’s blood alcohol level isn’t dependent on how many drinks a person has. Many other factors play a role in this calculation, including their body weight and gender.

How Is Blood Alcohol Content Measured?

Law enforcement officers typically use either a blood or a breath test to determine how much alcohol a person has in their blood. Blood tests usually require a trip to a medical facility or the police station where the blood sample is taken. When this method is used, the sample must be sent to a lab for analysis. A breath test determines immediately whether the person is over the legal limit. Where this test differs from the blood test is a breath test measures the breath alcohol content. What does this mean for the defendant?

The Difference Between Blood Alcohol Content and Breath Alcohol Content

Breath alcohol content measurements, to be admissible in a court of law, need to be calculated using a specific formula. As a result, attorneys would often challenge the results in court, stating the results weren’t accurate. However, a large majority of states have now changed the wording of their laws to ensure breath alcohol content and blood alcohol content refer to the same thing.

Speak to an attorney to learn more about blood alcohol content and breath alcohol content. An attorney knows how to defend against a charge of this type and may be able to help the person get the charges reduced or dropped. For this reason, a person should never attempt to fight a DWI or DUI charge alone. The consequences are simply too great.