Breathalyzers

When someone is pulled over for suspected drunk driving, police officers often use a breathalyzer to check the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver. The legal limit for BAC is currently 0.08. If a driver is operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, that is considered driving drunk, is illegal and could lead to a lot of trouble for the driver.

Lucy (Dropbox)Many people learn this information in their drivers’ education classes. What people do not know, however, is how a Breathalyzer can determine the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood just from testing their breath.

Although the best way to determine the BAC of a potentially drunk driver is to test their blood, it is very impractical to have to take a blood sample back to a lab to test it, then find the driver again to punish him or her. Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D. said that is was Dr. Robert Borkenstein from the Indiana State Police that invented the first Breathalyzer in 1954.

Breathalyzers work to determine BAC because alcohol that is consumed and taken into the bloodstream is also absorbed into the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines. As the blood goes through the lungs, some of the alcohol from the blood passes across small air sacs in the lungs, and into the air, which is then exhaled out and into a Breathalyzer.

When breathalyzers report the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream, it must multiply the amount of alcohol in the breath by 2,100, according to Dr. Freudenrich.

Although the legal standard for being drunk was once 0.10 in the United States, most states have now adopted the lower limit of 0.08. The degree to which a set amount of alcohol affects people is different for everyone though because of size, weight, gender and tolerance. According to the American Medical Association, “a person can become impaired when the blood alcohol level hits 0.05.

If you have found yourself in trouble with the law for operating a vehicle when your blood alcohol content was too high, contact a Chicago criminal defense attorney to fight for you in court. Attorneys at the Law Office of Hal M Garfinkel will assist you with your DUI or DWI charges in Chicago today.

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