The Law Offices of John Phebus

Factors that increase your BAC

As the holiday season approaches, it can be difficult to avoid alcohol completely, but did you know that there are other things that can cause your BAC to be elevated? In many cases a blood test will show that there is no actual alcohol in the blood, yet other factors can cause a breath analyzer to give a false report. Here are some things to watch out for if you get pulled over or have been convicted of a DUI.

Foreign substances

The sensitivity of a breathalyzer is affected whenever a foreign substance is in the mouth. Vomit, tobacco, dirt and blood can all lead to incorrect readings, while consumption of items like bread products can also lead to a higher number, according to AlcoholProblemsandSolutions.org.

Health conditions

Diabetics create more acetone in their breath than normal. This can also happen to people who are dieting. In either case a breath analyzer may mistake acetone for the ethanol found in alcoholic beverages because of their similar molecular structure and produce a false reading. The hematocrit values of an individual can also affect the results, since a breathalyzer depends on a certain percentage but most people can fall anywhere on a wide range.

Painting activities

One study reported that using certain types of paint can lead to a higher BAC. One subject spent 20 minutes spray painting and registered a .075 level, despite a blood test proving there was no alcohol consumed. Another subject spent one hour painting with contact cement and an oil-based paint and reported a 0.12 BAC 20 minutes later.

Empty stomach

The University of Minnesota reports that there are other additional factors that can lead to an actual increased alcohol level in the blood. Alcohol is digested more slowly if consumed with a large meal. Conversely, drinking on an empty stomach can cause a higher blood alcohol level faster than you expect. Be sure to have snacks at your holiday parties before and while drinking to keep alcohol levels low.

Body weight

The size of each drinker will also determine how quickly the body absorbs alcohol. A smaller person will naturally have a lower level of water and blood, causing the body to take longer to digest alcohol and the concentration in the blood to be higher.

Gender characteristics

Being a woman can automatically mean a higher blood alcohol concentration. Hormone changes and a higher body fat percentage are both factors that put women at a higher risk of increased levels of blood alcohol.

As you enjoy yourself this holiday season, be aware that there are other factors determining your BAC besides how many drinks you have had. If you have found yourself on the bad side of a breathalyzer, contact an experienced DUI attorney to fight for your rights and determine if the results were inaccurate.

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