It is important to note that the laws against driving under the influence prohibit an adult (above the age of 21) from driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or above, and California Vehicle Code §23152(a) prohibits someone from driving under the influence of alcohol, even if their BAC is below .08%. Thus, it is important to know your limits, to know how alcohol effects you, and how impaired you get from each drink. Some people have a greater tolerance to alcohol than others, based on their resistance to the effects of alcohol. But, even if someone does not feel impaired at .08% BAC, they are deemed too impaired to drive based on the law.
"The absorption rate varies in each person, and studies have shown that it can vary from 14 minutes to 138 minutes...This means that a person’s body can take over two hours to fully absorb the alcohol and reach a peak, only then will the alcohol be evenly disbursed in their blood, and only then will breathalyzer readings become somewhat accurate. "
Remember, it is not illegal to consume alcohol and drive, as long as your BAC is below .08%, and you are not too impaired to drive a car as cautiously as a sober person. The problem is that most people, who have been drinking, have no idea when they reach .08% BAC. This is why someone may feel as though they can drive safely, but may still be considered driving under the influence based on the law. Here is a BIG secret to most DUI cases!!! Prosecutors also don’t have any idea when you reached .08% BAC.
Here is how it works. When someone consumes alcohol, it doesn’t immediately disperse evenly throughout your entire bloodstream. It takes a while to get evenly disbursed and “distributed” throughout the various organs and tissues in your body. Organs with the highest blood supply, like the lungs, get the largest initial concentration of alcohol. Thus, the BAC in your lungs, during the period of time when the alcohol is “absorbing” into your system, may read up to 3X higher than your actual BAC level. This means that potentially someone who has an actual .04% BAC, may register a false-high reading of .12% BAC in a breathalyzer, during the “absorptive phase.”
Also, everyone absorbs alcohol at their own pace. The absorption rate varies in each person, and studies have shown that it can vary from 14 minutes to 138 minutes (from end of alcohol intake to peak blood alcohol concentration). This means that a person’s body can take over two hours to fully absorb the alcohol and reach a peak, only then will the alcohol be evenly disbursed in their blood, and only then will breathalyzer readings become somewhat accurate. In essence, once you take a drink and decide to drive, you expose yourself to potentially being obligated to submit to a chemical test at the request of a police officer. These tests, as you now know, may falsely reflect a BAC level much higher than your actual level.