Going out for a night on the town does not always end the right way for you or a family member. You might find yourself behind bars because of your blood alcohol content (BAC) if you got behind the wheel of a vehicle and decided to drive. It is important to have an understanding of the difference between BAC and your alcohol tolerance so you can protect yourself the next time you go out with friends or family to celebrate.
At Los Angeles DUI Attorney, our criminal defense attorney answers questions related to BAC and tolerance.
What Is a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Level?
Blood alcohol content, or BAC, is the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream and is described as a percentage. For example, if you register a 0.10% BAC, it means that there is one part alcohol for every 1,000 parts of blood in your body.
In California, the legal limit is 0.08%. This means that if your BAC is 0.08% or higher when operating a vehicle, you can be charged with DUI. If you are under 21, a BAC of 0.01% or higher is considered over the legal limit. If your BAC is 0.01% or higher at any age and you are on DUI probation, you are considered over the legal limit.
If you have a BAC of 0.04% or higher and are operating a vehicle that requires a CDL, whether or not you have a CDL is considered over the legal limit. The same limit applies to someone driving a vehicle-for-hire when a passenger is in the vehicle.
What Impacts Your BAC Level?
There are a number of factors that impact your BAC level, including the following:
- The number of drinks and how quickly they are consumed
- The size of your body
- The composition of your body (muscle versus fat)
- Estrogen and testosterone levels
- Additional medications or drugs in your system
- Whether or not you have any food in your stomach
- If you are menstruating
- Your level of fatigue
- Your mood and emotional state
- The type of beverage or mixer you are drinking
What Is Alcohol Tolerance?
Tolerance is how the body gets acclimated to the consumption of alcohol because of your continued use. Alcohol tolerance does not impact your BAC, but it makes alcohol users feel that they are less impacted by alcohol than they really are. If you are highly tolerant of alcohol, it means that it will take a higher amount of alcohol to experience the same physiological response.
Can I Increase My Tolerance to Alcohol?
The short answer is yes. It is possible to increase your tolerance to alcohol. To do this, you will need to start drinking more often. Doing so will increase the rate at which your body processes alcohol when it enters your system.
Can I Have a High Tolerance for Alcohol?
Yes, you can have a high tolerance for alcohol. This means that you will need to consume higher amounts of alcohol compared to others in order to feel the effects of intoxication.
Does California Have a Zero Tolerance Law?
Yes, there is a zero-tolerance law in California, and it affects two categories of people: those who are under the age of 21 and those who are already on DUI probation. Vehicle Code 23136 VC makes it illegal for anyone under 21 to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system. This often registers as 0.01%.
If you are found to have a BAC of 0.01% or more and are under 21, your driver’s license will be suspended as it is a civil offense. If your BAC is over 0.05% and are under 21, you can be charged with DUI. You do not have the right to refuse a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) because you are under 21.
You will be subject to the zero-tolerance law of California if you are on DUI probation already and are pulled over for suspicion of DUI. You are required to submit to a PAS test if pulled over for DUI and cannot refuse, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year if any level of alcohol is detected in your system and if your BAC is 0.04% or higher you face having your probation revoked.
Why Do I Need a DUI Lawyer?
Whenever you are pulled over and arrested for suspicion of DUI you should speak to an experienced DUI lawyer. Doing so ensures that your rights are protected every step of the way as you work to fight the charges. A DUI lawyer in Los Angeles will also ensure that the officer had probable cause to initiate the traffic stop, that the chain of command was followed regarding a blood test, that you were not improperly searched, and other laws were followed.
What Should I Tell My DUI Attorney?
When talking to your DUI attorney for the first time you should tell them the following:
- If you have ever been convicted of a crime in the past
- The people who saw you drinking before you were arrested (were you at home or were you at a public place?)
- If you answered any questions asked by the officer during the traffic stop
- If you have any medical conditions
- If you were or were not able to perform the field sobriety tests
You need to provide this information to your Los Angeles DUI attorney so they are not faced with any surprises while building a defense to the charges.
Call a Los Angeles DUI Attorney Today
Were you arrested for suspicion of DUI in Los Angeles or anywhere else in California? If so, you deserve to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney from the minute you are booked into the local jail. A Los Angeles DUI attorney will review your case and ensure that your rights are protected at all times throughout the process.
Call our office, or submit our contact form to schedule an appointment today.