What does “BAC” mean?
Blood alcohol content, or BAC, simply refers to the amount (or concentration) of alcohol found in one’s bloodstream. In New York State, this is measured by a percentage by weight of blood.
A person’s BAC level directly relates to that person’s own anatomy. Therefore, there are many factors that can contribute to any particular motorist’s BAC reading. Body weight, gender, body fat percentage, food eaten, and time of alcohol consumption can all affect a person’s BAC level.
Police officers most often use various infrared light absorption machines (commonly called breathalyzers by the public) to determine a person’s BAC level based on breath. BAC can also be obtained by drawing a sample of blood from the motorist and submitting the blood sample to a laboratory to test the blood. Most laboratories use processes such as gas chromatography and headspace gas chromatography to measure the alcohol contained in such blood samples. Each of these methods has strengths and weaknesses associated with its process.
For purposes of law enforcement, BAC is used to define whether a person is impaired or intoxicated. However, BAC provides only a rough measure of impairment or intoxication. The degree of impairment may vary among individuals with the same BAC. In New York State, a person who is 21 years of age or older may not legally operate a motor vehicle with a BAC level of 0.07% or higher. A BAC of at least 0.07% will establish a presumption that the motorist was impaired as a matter of law, while a BAC of at least 0.08% will establish a presumption that the motorist was intoxicated as a matter of law.
At Anelli Xavier, we are familiar with BAC testing and procedures and know how to defend clients against their presumed reliability. Our attorneys continuously study BAC testing and procedures as they, and the science that surrounds them, develop. Call or email me, the DWI Guy, and my team of attorneys for professional, trained, and experienced legal counsel and defense where a BAC test is involved.