Blood Alcohol Concentration in New York
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A driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is one of the most common and reliable sources of evidence used to determine whether they are guilty of driving while intoxicated. Blood alcohol concentration refers to the percentage of alcohol in a person's blood or breath and is generally measured using a breathalyzer. If you are pulled over by law enforcement in New York and your BAC is above the state’s legal limit of 0.08%, you could be charged with DWI.
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How Is BAC Measured?
BAC percentages indicate the amount of alcohol per 100mL of blood or 210L of breath, so a BAC of 0.08% is equal to 80mg of alcohol per 100mL of blood.
BAC evidence is often very influential in DWI cases, and there are two main types of chemical testing through which this information can be gathered:
- Blood Testing: In this method, a blood sample is drawn and analyzed by a qualified medical professional or lab technician to determine the percentage of alcohol in the blood. This is considered to be the most accurate measurement of a defendant's BAC and is often preferred by law enforcement and prosecutors in DWI cases.
- Breath Testing: A law enforcement officer can measure a driver's BAC by using a breathalyzer machine. Instead of directly measuring the driver's BAC, a breath test estimates the amount of alcohol on their breath. The only method of directly measuring the concentration of alcohol in the blood is through drawing and analyzing a blood sample.
There are various factors that can negatively impact the results of your chemical test and could make the evidence invalid, which is why you should discuss your case with an experienced DWI defense lawyer in the Bronx before entering a plea for your DWI charges.
What Factors Impact BAC & Impairment?
Alcohol affects every individual differently, but your level of impairment will be determined by the following:
- The amount of alcohol you drank,
- The amount of food you consumed before and while you drank,
- How long you drank alcohol,
- Your weight, and
- Your gender.
Based on their BAC level in NY, a driver will typically exhibit the following effects:
- 0.01% – .02%: Subtle effects that may only be detectable with special tests
- 0.03% – 0.05%: Concentration impairment
- 0.06% – 0.09%: Impairment to reasoning, peripheral vision, depth perception, and glare recovery
- 0.10% – 0.19%: Impairment to reflexes, reaction time, gross motor control, speech, and ability to walk
- 0.20% – 0.29%: Severe motor impairment, memory blackout, and loss of consciousness
It is important to monitor your drinking if you are planning to drive yourself afterwards, as such alleged remedies as drinking coffee, taking a cold shower, or going for a walk will not help you sober up. The only way to lower your BAC is to wait for your body to metabolize the alcohol, which can take several hours.
BAC & DWI Laws in New York
New York law determines that a driver is significantly intoxicated to the point of committing a criminal offense if their BAC is measured at 0.08% or higher. Drivers of commercial vehicles are held to an even stricter standard due to the large size of their vehicles; they can be charged with DWI if their BAC is 0.04% or higher. State law also enforces a zero tolerance rule to discourage underage drinking. This means that any driver under the age of 21 who is found to have a BAC of 0.02% or higher will face DWI charges.
Conviction for drunk driving will result in severe penalties and you could be sentenced to fines, incarceration, driver’s license suspension/revocation, mandatory instillation of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, and/or community service. If you are charged with a DWI in New York City, it is imperative that you retain aggressive defense for your case as soon as possible.
Get Defense For Driving Over The Legal BAC Level in New York
When you face serious criminal charges, you deserve to be confident that your attorney has the skill and experience needed to aggressively challenge your charges. Our firm has provided the people of the Bronx with attentive and effective representation in countless DWI cases, and we would be proud to fight for you.
DWI conviction will likely have severe implications for your relationships, reputation, career, freedom, and opportunities—with so much on the line, you can’t afford to not speak to our Bronx DWI defense lawyer.