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Does my Blood Alcohol Level have an Influence on my Los Angeles DUI Case?

  • September 1, 2017

    If you’re arrested for driving under the influence, there are a variety of factors and circumstances that will help to determine the outcome of your case. One of the most important factors is your blood alcohol content (BAC), and the amount of alcohol you have in your system at the time of the arrest will play a huge role in determining the potential consequences you may face for your DUI conviction.

    BAC and California DUI Laws
    When you’re pulled over and the officer suspects you of driving under the influence, the officer will usually ask you to undergo a field sobriety test and submit to a handheld breath test also known as a breathalyzer. Contrary to what you may think, this field sobriety test isn’t mandatory and you can refuse to submit to a field sobriety test without fear of additional punishment. However, a second test will be administered at the police station once you’re taken into custody and this test is mandatory. Although you can still refuse to take this mandatory test, refusal to do so will see you facing harsher penalties.

    Once you’re at the police station, you will be required to submit to either a blood or breath test in order to determine your blood alcohol content. California law states that a person is considered intoxicated if their BAC is at or above 0.08 percent. However, you can still be convicted of a DUI if you refuse to submit to the BAC test or if your BAC is below 0.08. A BAC at or above 0.08 percent is not actually a requirement for a DUI conviction, and you can still be charged with DUI even if your BAC is at 0.06 or 0.07 if you otherwise appear too impaired to drive.

    Of course, you have a much better chance of potentially beating the charges the closer your BAC is to the legal limit, and a skilled Los Angeles DUI lawyer may be able to help you get the charges reduced or dismissed by arguing that there is not sufficient evidence to prove that you were impaired at the time of your arrest. For instance, let’s say you were arrested for DUI and your BAC was 0.08. However, you hadn’t actually been drinking that much and you were actually pulled over for speeding or some other traffic violation unrelated to DUI. In this case, an experienced DUI attorney may be able to argue on your behalf that there is not sufficient evidence to indicate intoxication.

    The fact that your blood alcohol level was right at the legal limit of 0.08 doesn’t necessarily indicate that you were intoxicated. As long as you don’t incriminate yourself during the arrest and didn’t show any visible signs of intoxication or impairment, your lawyer might be able to successfully argue that your blood alcohol reading alone doesn’t constitute sufficient evidence. In this case, there is a decent chance that the prosecution might agree to a plea bargain and reduce the charge of DUI to a lower charge like reckless driving.

    BAC and Aggravated DUI
    While your BAC can sometimes be used by your lawyer to help defend your case, it can also be used against you and could cause you to face stiffer penalties. This typically happens when a person has a BAC that is much higher than the legal limit. For instance, if your BAC was at 0.12, the court will be more likely to treat you more harshly and you could end up facing much more severe penalties as a result.

    If your BAC is at 0.15 or more than double the legal limit, you will automatically face much harsher consequences. Anyone who has a BAC at or above 0.15 is automatically charged with an aggravated DUI offense, and as such, will face enhanced penalties. There is still a chance that an experienced lawyer can get this aggravated charge dropped and ensure you don’t face additional penalties, but this will depend in large part on the skill of the lawyer and the attitude of the prosecutor and judge.

    No matter what your BAC was, it is vital that you get the help you need to give yourself a better chance of beating the conviction. An experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer will look through the evidence against you and use this to determine the best way to proceed with your defense. Even if you do end up being convicted for a DUI, hiring a skilled lawyer still gives you the best chance of facing less severe consequences as a result.

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