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When Your BAC Doesn’t Reflect Your Impairment Level

A Short History of Brentwood

Located in the East Bay region of San Francisco, Brentwood is in Contra Costa County and has a population of approximately 55,000. Known throughout the Bay area for many decades for cherries, corn, and peaches, many of the old farms and orchards have been replaced with residential and commercial properties.

The area which is now Brentwood was donated by pioneer John Marsh, who acquired the Rancho Los Meganos. John Marsh’s letters extolled the agricultural potential in the state of California and were published in newspapers along the East Coast, resulting in the first wagon trains crossing the United States and settling in California.

If you are a Brentwood resident, you may have been in the Brentwood Emporium, located on 1st Street, perhaps after a long day at work, or on the weekend, hanging out with friends. The Emporium has an enticing selection of beer, great music, and a giant Jenga and shuffleboard for enthusiasts. Maybe you have been in the Imperiale Beer Café, located at Empire Avenue in Brentwood. The Imperiale offers an amazing selection of beer, with knowledgeable staff and owners.

You may have your own favorite stopping in place where you go to relax. You could find, however, that on your way home from one of these places, you are pulled over and charged with DUI.

Brentwood’s Answer for DUI Defense

You could have been stopped in a DUI checkpoint on Balfour Road and Fairview Avenue, or Brentwood Blvd. and Sand Creek Road, or you may have been stopped by an officer who believed you were driving erratically or had a problem with your vehicle, such as a broken taillight.

In either scenario, it is important to understand that the consequences and penalties, even for a first-time DUI conviction, are particularly harsh in the state of California. You could pay stiff fines, fees and penalty assessments, spend time in jail, be put on probation for three to five years, be required to attend an alcohol program, and could even have your car impounded, or be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

Did Your BAC Reflect Your Level of Impairment?

Across the United States, a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher is considered legally intoxicated. There are three methods used in the United States for determining your blood alcohol content. The most accurate method is a blood test; however, blood tests are not particularly convenient, require a trained professional to administer, and are considered by many to be extremely invasive.

For these reasons, breath tests (or breathalyzers) are often used to determine a subject’s BAC.  Unfortunately, there are many factors that can influence the results of a breathalyzer test.

  • The accuracy of a breathalyzer test is fairly dependent on the level of skill employed by the officer administering the test. Guidelines must be strictly followed, and if they are not, the results of the BAC may not be accurate.
  • Substances in the mouth, such as breath fresheners or toothache medicines which contain alcohol, can alter the BAC reading. The alcohol vapor they emit could be greater than the amount exhaled from the lungs.
  • BAC machines must be periodically calibrated in order to produce accurate readings. If calibration has not occurred, the results may not be accurate.
  • Breathalyzer machines operate on software. Just like any type of software on your computer, there are going to be glitches and bugs.
  • If you work in a trade which used paint, varnish, or plastic and adhesive chemicals, the presence of those fumes on your clothing could return an inaccurate BAC reading. 

One study found that breath readings taken from a breathalyzer can vary from actual BAC levels by at least 15 percent and that nearly a 1 in 4 of all those tested with a breathalyzer will have results in excess of their true BAC. A Wisconsin study found that only a third of all breath test results correlated with a blood test done on the same subject.

Call (510) 907-6600 For a Free Consultation from a Proven DUI Defense Lawyer

As you can see, your actual level of impairment may not be accurately reflected by a breathalyzer test. If you have been stopped in Brentwood and charged with DUI, it is imperative that you immediately contact an experienced Brentwood DUI attorney who will ensure your rights are protected. 

Call the Oakland offices of Attorney Nabiel C. Ahmed, or submit a short online form to speak with our firm. We will lay out your options honestly and fight for you in whatever way you need. Call today.

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