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Alcohol Absorption

It is mandatory for Santa Barbara police officers to take classes on breathalyzer machines in conjunction with his regular police training. As part of these classes, the police officers witness other members of the class consume various amounts of alcohol in an attempt to show how these breath machines work. Surprisingly, the results were somewhat misleading.

In one particular demonstration, an officer weighing 200 pounds was asked to intake 7 gin and tonics. At 1 ounce of alcohol per drink, his BAC level should have been 0.13%. However, the actual result of his blood alcohol content testing was a mere 0.04%. Considering his weight and the amount of alcohol he drank it should have read closer to the amount predicted above.

There are 2 reasons that will explain this discrepancy: 1) the machine malfunctioned or was used improperly; or 2) the BAC testing was done immediately after the 7 drinks were consumed and before the alcohol was completely absorbed in to his system. This video will show you how improper use will affect the test results of a breathalyzer. The officer may use a false reading like this to determine you are DUI, even if the field sobriety tests determine that you are not.

The second explanation is the case for many drivers who are accused of drunk driving in Santa Barbara, California. It is possible that right after you leave a bar, a police officer may use this as the only reason he believes you are DUI. He may pull you over and ask you to submit to breath and field sobriety tests. He may then find you are over the legal limits of intoxication based on a false reading provided by the breath machine and/or his subjective opinion of the field sobriety test. By the time you are arrested for DUI and required to take a chemical test, anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours later, the alcohol is now absorbed into your blood stream and your BAC is past the legal limit of intoxication. Many that have been found guilty of drunk driving simply give in to their conviction because they do not realize that they did not actually violate the 0.08% BAC law at the time they were driving.

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