An alcohol blood test is made when a driver is suspected of driving under the influence, and it shows the concentration of ethanol in the driver’s organism. Opposing a police officer’s request to take an alcohol blood test is against the law, and it may increase the legal consequences of your DUI.
The legal limit for the blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent. All drivers that are suspected of drinking will be requested to take the alcohol blood test.
What Is an Alcohol Blood Test?
As I previously mentioned, an alcohol blood test measures the level of ethanol in your body. Alcoholic substances are absorbed by the organism in just a few minutes after the drinking process. Therefore, the blood alcohol test can be done soon after having an alcoholic beverage.
Moreover, the highest level of blood alcohol concentration is measured approximately an hour after the alcohol consumption. Blood alcohol content also has other similar names such as blood alcohol level or simply put, BAC.
The alcohol blood test is usually used to determine the legal intoxication level of a suspect. The authorities will need your consent to take this test. However, if your refusal to submit to the test, might have serious legal consequences. On the other hand, some people think that the authorities should need the warrant to extract drinking evidence from your system.
A blood alcohol test is done for some reasons such as:
- Determining the amount of illegal alcohol concentration in your system. This is usually the case when you become a suspect in the eyes of a police officer by presenting one or more of the following symptoms: lack of balance and coordination, confusion, irresponsible driving, and more.
- Checking the alcohol presence in certain conditions of prohibition. For example, it is illegal to drink if you are underage. Therefore, it is a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drunk youngsters.
- Other medical reasons. A blood alcohol test can be done to discover the potential cause of a person’s unstable mental condition. This can be related to a drunk driving offense or not.
How an Alcohol Blood Test Is Done?
You will not need any special preparation before taking a blood alcohol test. However, pay attention to the medic’s questions and try to tell him all you know about your medical history. This is a precaution way to make sure that the result will be as accurate as possible. Moreover, many drugs or medical treatments could change the way that your body responds to any amount of alcohol.
- The first step is something that mostly involves the knowledge and attention of the medical specialist who is performing this task. He/she will have to wrap a rubber band around your arm. This way, your blood will flow slower while your veins will become larger. Therefore, it will be much easier to find a proper vein for the needle. You should always make sure that the needle as well as all the other items that the health professional uses, are new and unused before. This will maintain a high hygienic level, and you will protect your health.
- After putting the needle in your vein, the medical specialist will attach a tube to it, and fill it with your blood. You have to be aware of the fact that more than just one needle might be needed to take your blood.
- After a certain amount of blood is collected, the rubber band is removed from your upper arm. Furthermore, the medical assistant will place a cotton ball in the area where the needle was, and while putting pressure on it, he/she will also attach a bandage.
There are not reasons to be concerned about a blood alcohol test safety. The procedure is quite simple and the people who do it have plenty of experience and medical skills. It is true that you might feel a little uncomfortable, and you will probably feel a certain level of numbness in your arm.
The one described above is just one of the three types of existing BAC tests. Besides the alcohol blood test, there are also the breathing as well as the urine tests.
For this test to be accomplished, the police officers use a device called a breathalyzer. These tools are easy to handle, and they provide fast results. A breath test gives accurate results due to the circulation of alcohol vapors from your lungs’ blood vessels through your trachea and into your mouth.
Breathing test results are considered strong enough to be presented in Court, as evidence of the suspect’s reckless driving. Furthermore, it is a powerful tool to sustain a DUI charge against a certain driver.
Surprisingly or not, a urine test is less accurate compared to breathing and blood tests. This is why they are mostly used when the other two types of alcohol blood tests are not available. From a certain point of view, this test is similar to the blood one. They are both intrusive and quite controversial methods.
The level of accuracy of the urine tests is not reliable because they cannot be performed right away at the place of the incident. Therefore, the results can be modified because of a longer period between the moment of the accident and that of the urine test procedure.
Interpretation of Alcohol Blood Test Results
In the case in which your BAC turns out to be 0.08 percent of higher, you will be charged with the offense of legal intoxication. This is the illegal alcohol level for all states in America.
When your blood alcohol level approaches the limit of 0.40 percent, your impairment will be significantly higher, and your nervous system starts to be seriously affected. Above this limit, there are severe health consequences such as loss of consciousness or even death.
What Should You Keep in Mind?
Even though three types of tests can be done to measure the blood alcohol concentration, the most common one is the blood test. This is also considered the most accurate one.
When you are suspected of drunk driving, the police officer will require you to do an alcohol blood test. Although they need your consent on this matter, refusing to do the test could bring severe consequences on your record. You shouldn’t be driving after having a drink or two. However, if you got caught and asked to do a BAC test, you shouldn’t refuse it. The best thing to do is to contact a DUI attorney.