In Arizona, you can get a DUI charge if you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. A conviction can occur if the court is able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were in fact under the influence while operating a vehicle. BAC is the most common way to measure the levels of alcohol in your system.
The process of determining BAC and using it in DUI cases can be complex.
Blood alcohol concentration, as the name implies, measures the concentration of alcohol in your bloodstream. The number is reported as a percentage. If someone has a BAC of 0.08%, for example, it means that 8 of every 10,000 molecules in the bloodstream is an alcohol molecule. Although this seems small, it can have a large effect on your impairment.
Your blood alcohol concentration rises the more you drink. However, the number of drinks you have is not the only factor that influences the reading. The percentage also varies based on your physical size, medications you may be taking, and the amount of time that you were drinking.
There are two main methods for measuring blood alcohol concentration: breathalyzers and blood draws. Blood draws are the most straight-forward, as they directly measure alcohol content in a sample of blood. There are police officers who have phlebotomy licenses to be able to draw blood on the scene of a suspected DUI. For drivers and police alike, blood testing can be burdensome. Many drivers simply do not like the idea of police drawing their blood. Other drivers may have medical conditions that make this method of testing a bad option.
It’s more likely that police on the scene of a DUI will use a breathalyzer to test drivers. This measures BAC indirectly by detecting alcohol in your breath. The device then uses a ratio to calculate the percentage of alcohol in your blood.
There are many reasons that it is always important to call an experienced DUI attorney as soon as you face an accusation of a DUI. The potential complications of BAC testing is one of those. As a driver in Arizona, the law includes presumed consent for blood draws or breathalyzers in the case of potential DUI. However, it might be in your best interest to refuse the test depending on the circumstances.
Any BAC over a 0.08% can result in a DUI charge. Although other factors can impact what type of DUI charges you will face, your blood alcohol concentration can directly impact this. A high BAC can increase the already severe penalties. DUI laws are complicated and there are some nuances to this definition that only an experienced DUI attorney would be able to help you with. Here are some of the charges for various BAC percentages:
If you are under the age of 21, police can charge you with a DUI even if your BAC is below 0.08%. Anything over 0.0% is illegal for a minor.
This is the most common charge for readings above 0.08%. The severity of penalties varies depending on if this is your first DUI and if there were any other factors, such as a minor in the vehicle.
This charge applies to BAC percentages of over 0.15%. At this level of blood alcohol concentration, your impairment is more severe and it is even more dangerous to operate a vehicle.
You may be charged with a Super Extreme DUI if your BAC is over 0.20%. These charges are more severe and have greater consequences if you are convicted.
If you are facing DUI charges for any BAC, you need an experienced DUI lawyer.