One minute you may be driving home from an enjoyable evening out, and the next moment you may feel anxiety as you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror. A traffic stop can be intimidating, especially if it is for the reason of suspected intoxicated driving. After pulling you over, a North Carolina police officer will likely come to your window and ask if you have been drinking. He or she may also ask you to submit to one or more sobriety tests.
If you do not pass the sobriety test, the officer may ask that you submit to a chemical test of your breath done with a device called a Breathalyzer. These testing devices have an apparatus into which you breathe, and the device will register your blood alcohol content. If you have a BAC over .08%, that is grounds for arrest. You may benefit from an explanation of how breath tests work and what factors could affect these test results.
Factors that affect BAC results
It is possible that you may not feel intoxicated or believe you are unable to drive safely. Alcohol affects people in different ways, and there are multiple factors that could affect your BAC reading when taking a Breathalyzer test. Some of these things include:
- Weight — The more a person weighs, the more likely that alcohol can become diluted in his or her body.
- Amount eaten — A person who is drinking on an empty stomach will feel the effects of alcohol faster and increase the speed at which the body processes the alcohol.
- Gender — Men tend to be able to drink more and have lower BAC levels than women due to higher levels of certain enzymes in the stomach and other biological factors.
- Amount of alcohol consumed — The primary factor in a person’s BAC results depends on the amount of alcohol consumed and the type of alcohol.
If you are facing drunk driving charges, it is in your interests to begin immediately to work on an effective and appropriate defense strategy. Part of developing your defense may be to carefully evaluate the case against you, including the results of a BAC you took. It is possible that different factors affect the accuracy of the test, and you may have grounds to challenge the prosecution’s case. An assessment of your case can help you understand the defense options available to you and how to best fight for your future interests.