Firm Articles

Physiology of Blood Alcohol Content In New Jersey

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | Feb 04, 2016

man blowing into breath test device

If the police have stopped you on the roads of New Jersey and charged you with driving while intoxicated, they have probably taken a sample of your breath, blood or urine to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). The results of these tests are will be used against you in court. That doesn't mean that you should surrender and plead guilty without legal representation. There are flaws with each of these test and an experienced DWI lawyer will be able to use these flaws to challenged the tests in court. You need to find an attorney who understands DWI law and knows the weaknesses of blood alcohol evidence like those at Villani & DeLuca. Whatever you decide to do, you should have a basic understanding of the science of blood alcohol. It may help you to make an important decisions in regards to your pending DWI case. Even if you haven't been arrested for DWI, it may help you make smart decisions about your drinking habits.

Background of Alcohol

There are a number of different types of alcohols, both natural and man-made. Alcohol is used in chemistry, medicine, fuel and many other applications. But when people discuss alcohol in a legal or physiological context, they're almost always referring to ethyl alcohol or ethanol, the only safely ingested form of the chemical. This is what is found in beers, wines and liquors. Some ethanol occurs naturally, but humans have been fermenting and drinking most of it since before the dawn of time. Alcohol can be highly misleading: At first, it can seem to act as a stimulant, leading to greater sociability and heightened mood. But it is ultimately a central nervous system depressant, and it slows the entire physiological system down, including one's heart rate, motor responses, reflexes, balance and muscle control. This is what makes impaired driving so dangerous.

Absorption of Alcohol

Ethanol can be absorbed in several ways: drinking, injection and even inhalation. Of course, almost all alcohol is consumed by drinking. Alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream once it makes its way into the digestive tract. You can even absorb some alcohol straight through the stomach walls. This is the reason it's so important to eat before you drink. A full stomach will slow the rate of absorption and keep your BAC from rising too high. This, in turn, may save you from blowing a breathalyzer result above the legal limit. Of course, a better way to avoid that result is not to get behind the wheel after having anything to drink. Even if you are driving after having a few alcoholic beverages, it does not mean you are legally drunk.  It is scientifically possible that your blood alcohol content was under the legal limit, but when you were detained by the police, your body kept absorbing the alcohol in your stomach thus raising your BAC to an illegal level. Much of the alcohol makes its way to the brain, where it interacts with your central nervous system. Because of the way alcohol is absorbed by the body, it's actually common for drinkers to become briefly intoxicated after the first few drinks and then quickly sober up, contrary to gradual intoxication as expected. Once alcohol has been distributed, your metabolism starts clearing it out of your body. This is primarily done by way of the liver. The length of time required to remove alcohol from the body varies from person to person. On average, once you have reached your peak BAC, it should drop about 0.015 each hour. In other words, if you're just over the legal limit of 0.085, it would take an hour for you to fall below the limit and reach 0.07.

Call a New Jersey Drunk Driving Lawyer if Charged with DWI

If you have been charged with DWI in Ocean County or Monmouth County, you should hire a DWI lawyer that is experienced with DWI cases and the scientific evidence that can help to dispute BAC test results. Villani & DeLuca DWI attorneys have years of experience handling these cases and they can help protect your legal rights today. Call 732-965-3999 for your FREE consultation with one of Villani & DeLuca's lawyers now!

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.