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Manassas DUI Defense: Rising Blood Alcohol

In Manassas, DUI defenses involving rising blood alcohol level typically require showing that a person’s ultimate blood alcohol reading, which is taken at the police station, is higher than the blood alcohol level when the person was actually operating a motor vehicle. A local lawyer can help to promote this defense.

Using a Rising Blood Alcohol Defense

A Manassas lawyer will use a rising blood alcohol level as a defense any time that it appears that the blood alcohol level that was tested at the police station is higher than the preliminary breath test. It is also used as a defense when the blood alcohol level is higher than what would be expected as a normal blood alcohol level given the individual’s height, weight, gender, and what they had to drink.


Some evidence for this defense, and perhaps the most common example, is when a preliminary breath test shows a lower number than the blood alcohol reading, which was taken at the station. That indicates that the individual is “on the way up.” In other words, they have recently had something to drink, there is still alcohol in their stomach at the time of the stop, and because of that, their alcohol level continues to rise during the arrest process. By the time that they get to the station, their blood alcohol level is a higher number than it was when they were actually operating the vehicle. Often, it is possible not only to look at a preliminary breath test, which had a lower number, but also to involve an expert witness who can testify what the individual’s blood alcohol level would have been given a number of factors, including how much they had to drink, how long ago they had their last drink, their height, weight, and gender.

Persuasiveness of Defense

The reason this kind of defense can be persuasive is that someone won’t be punished for the blood alcohol level that they had at the police station. Under the law, it is the blood alcohol level at the time that they were operating the motor vehicle which determines whether they were under the influence and guilty of the charged offense

In many cases, when people are stopped for a DUI, they are driving a short distance and would have arrived at their destination within five minutes of the stop. It is not fair to impute a higher alcohol level in their blood to them, when it is tested perhaps an hour later because there is often no chance that they would have been operating a motor vehicle an hour later.

When a Person’s BAC is Highest

A person’s blood alcohol level is at its highest after they have stopped drinking. When a person ingests alcohol or continues to ingest alcohol, their blood alcohol level rises quickly as the body continues to fully absorb the ingested alcohol. The rate at which the body absorbs the alcohol is referred to as the absorption rate. Each person has an individual absorption rate.

At some point, once a person has stopped drinking and the alcohol has been fully absorbed in the body, the blood alcohol content will peak. Often, it takes a half hour to an hour for the blood alcohol to reach its peak and then it begins to eliminate the alcohol. The rate at which the body eliminates the alcohol is referred to as the elimination rate, and it is different for each person.

Benefits of a Lawyer’s Assistance

Rising blood alcohol cases are complicated and have a number of technical aspects to them, both from the legal side as well on the scientific side. It is a defense that requires experienced counsel and in many cases, an expert witness to use the defense at all and to receive the maximum benefit. This is not the kind of defense that an inexperienced lawyer or an individual representing themselves is going to be able to utilize effectively. For that reason, the only choice in a situation like this is to consult with and utilize DUI defense counsel.

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