DUI or DWI charges in Texas are very serious offenses that can have life-altering consequences if you are convicted. As such, you will want to consider any defense that may be able to help with your case, including the defense of rising blood alcohol. What do we mean when we talk about rising blood alcohol? In short, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) might have been lower at the time you were driving than at the moment in which the breathalyzer test was administered.
How can this happen? In short, alcohol affects your body differently from the moment you consume it to minutes and hours later—your BAC continues to rise after you initially consume a drink. An Austin DUI defense lawyer can help to explain more about how a rising blood alcohol defense may be successful in your case, and when rising blood alcohol leads to a falsely high BAC, you can build a rising blood alcohol defense with an experienced Austin DWI lawyer.
How Alcohol Affects Your Body
How long does it take for your body to absorb alcohol? According to a fact sheet from Stanford University, there are numerous factors that can impact how long it takes your body to absorb alcohol, including but not limited to the following:
- Biological sex (women metabolize alcohol at different rates than men do as a result of differences in body composition);
- Body weight (people who weigh more often experience a slower diffusion of alcohol in the body, and thus will have a lower BAC than someone who weighs less);
- Medications (certain medications can impact alcohol absorption rates);
- Empty stomach versus full stomach (drinking on an empty stomach tends to result in a faster absorption of alcohol than drinking on a full stomach);
- Health conditions (diseases like hypoglycemia, diabetes, hypertension, depression, and seizure disorders can impact a person’s alcohol absorption rate); and
- The rate at which you consumed alcohol (“chugging” alcohol typically leads to a quicker rate of absorption than “sipping” alcohol).
Why are these factors important? Depending on the factors mentioned above, it can take anywhere from around 50 minutes to several hours for alcohol to completely absorb into a person’s system. As alcohol is absorbed into the system, the person’s BAC rises. As such, an individual who consumed alcohol and drove immediately afterward, and then was stopped in his or her vehicle for one hour waiting for a breath test, may have had a lower BAC while she was driving than when the breath test was administered.
BAC at the Time of Driving
Even if your BAC was at 0.08 percent or higher when the breathalyzer test was administered, this test result should not be relevant in your case if you were over the legal limit due to rising blood alcohol. The only BAC that matters is your BAC at the time you were driving. When Texans are required to wait for minutes (or sometimes longer) for a breath test to be administered, rising blood alcohol can result in a BAC that does not accurately reflect that person’s blood alcohol concentration while she or he was actually driving.