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Rising Blood Alcohol in DC DUI Cases

Rising blood alcohol is an issue that may come up as a possible defense in a DUI case and is supported by medical studies. There is no specific definition of rising blood alcohol defined under the DC code. The basic idea is that when an individual consumes alcohol, the alcohol does not immediately enter their bloodstream. It is processed by the person’s intestines and stomach and then goes into the blood stream where it is handled by the liver.

That means that individuals who may have started driving when their blood alcohol level was lower, may have had it rise as they were driving, and had a breathalyzer after that. However, a rising blood alcohol level complicates the allegation that someone was driving under the influence. An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to pursue this complication and can use it to bolster your defense if you have been charged with a DUI.

Examples of Rising Blood Alcohol

If someone drinks a beer, two minutes later they are not going to have any alcohol in their bloodstream because there is not enough time for the body to process the beer. If they continue drinking, the alcohol eventually enters into their bloodstream. If they stop drinking, the alcohol continues to enter the bloodstream as it is processed by the body. The liver begins breaking it down and the alcohol enters the bloodstream.

In a situation of rising blood alcohol in a DC DUI case, where an individual drinks from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the amount of alcohol in their bloodstream continues to rise over time as they continue to drink. If they have their last sip of alcohol at 9:00 p.m., their blood alcohol level continues to rise beyond the last sip because their body continues to process the alcohol they consumed. It takes time for alcohol to enter the bloodstream. The person’s alcohol level continues to rise even after they stop drinking. The alcohol from a person’s last two drinks could still be entering their bloodstream and their liver has still not processed the earlier alcohol.

That means if a person drives one hour after their last drink and was drinking for some amount of time; their alcohol continues to rise beyond their last drink. This is important and often a critical component of a defense in a DC DUI rising blood alcohol case when an individual is pulled over right after they began drinking. It is not uncommon in DC. A person could leave a bar, walk across the street, get in their car; drive two blocks, and be pulled over by a police officer.

Breathalyzers and Rising Blood Alcohol

If the individual is not tested with a breathalyzer or does not have a blood or urine test within the next hour or two, their alcohol continues to rise up to the point when they are tested. The result is no longer a true and accurate reflection of the level of alcohol that was in their bloodstream at the time they were driving. It is an inflated score because their alcohol level continued to rise after they were driving and were arrested.

The alcohol level as measured by the instrument used by the police is not a fair and accurate depiction of the person’s level of alcohol at the time of driving. In the instance of a DC DUI, rising blood alcohol can potentially call into question the validity of the evidence law enforcement has collected.

Peak Blood Alcohol Level

The level of a person’s blood alcohol level depends on many different factors. It is not at its highest level when the person stops drinking. A person does not drink at the same rate that their liver eliminates the alcohol from their bloodstream. A rule of thumb is that a healthy adult’s liver processes and eliminates the equivalent of one drink per hour. However, there can be differences between individuals and specific cases.

When an individual drinks more than one drink per hour, it takes several hours after they started drinking for the liver to catch up and begin eliminating the alcohol from the blood. It depends on what an individual is drinking, their metabolism, and whether they ate before or during the period in which they were drinking because the consumption of food can slow down the processing and absorption of alcohol into the system.

Contacting a Lawyer

If you have been charged with a DUI, then retaining the services of a skilled DUI attorney is of the utmost importance. A capable lawyer will know that a consideration of a rising blood alcohol level in their your DC DUI case could potentially impact the strength of the prosecution’s argument, and can bolster the strength of your defense. Furthermore, the attorney can fight for you, to ensure that your rights are protected.