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Can you challenge a blood alcohol content (BAC) test?

Feb 26, 2018 | DWI

Widmark developed a formula to determine the metabolic absorption rate in 1932 that is still in use today and referred to as the Widmark Factor. But even after 100 years of study, accurately predicting BAC remains an active area of scientific research.

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Determining BAC at a certain point of time can be complicated by individual characteristics (state of hydration, age and basal metabolic rate) and the variable concentration of alcohol in various beverages (beer versus red or white wine). For instance, the water volume in your body decreases as you age. This can lead to a higher BAC that estimates for older individuals.

Empty versus full stomach

There is the adage that it can be a good idea to eat food while drinking alcohol. Science backs it up. What is in your stomach will affect alcohol absorption

If you drink on an empty stomach, you need to realize that the rate with which the alcohol is being absorbed into your system is high – up to 97 percent. When you drink with a meal, it drops to 72 percent and 66 percent for men and women respectively.

Ancestry can also make a difference. Those of Hispanic descent have a heightened alcohol metabolic rate which leads to a higher alcohol tolerance. On the other hand, Asians and Native Americans generally produce less ADH (an enzyme that helps break down alcohol) than those of Caucasian origin, which increases the time it takes to metabolize alcohol. It also explains headache, nausea and flushing that people from these backgrounds can experience.

Difference between absorption in men and women

Because body mass makes a big difference in the calculations, a man and women can have the same number of drinks and the man will generally have a lower maximum BAC. Interestingly a man will generally reach his maximum BAC more quickly than the woman and clear the alcohol from his system faster.

Best practices: Did police follow them?

From collection to storage of samples, errors can cause contamination that will affect results. There are complicated modeling algorithms that may also be used. These are only as good as the numbers used and if they can properly account for individual characteristics.

It often takes a tough DWI defense attorney to identify possible defenses. And if a mistake was made this is almost the only way you will ever find out.

How well do you know the criminal justice system? Do not try to handle a criminal case on your own, ask the Mingledorffs to protect your rights. They understand the system after defending people in similar circumstances for more than 40 years.