Blood Alcohol Content Limit
When you are having a drink, you may be wondering what the blood alcohol content limit is. This can determine whether or not you are charged with a DWI that carries severe consequences.
Blood Alcohol Content Limit | Percentage
Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the percentage of alcohol that is present in the blood stream of the driver. In New York, there are different blood alcohol content levels and limits associated with DWI. For New York drivers over the age of 21, the legal limit is 0.08% for private vehicles. If you drive a commercial vehicle, the legal limit is 0.04%. For drivers under the age of 21, the limit is 0.02%.
There is no sure way to determine exactly how many drinks it would take for an individual to reach the legal limit. Our bodies process and metabolize alcohol at different rates. There are BAC charts available online that are based on the weight of a person, that might prove to be good guideline. The charts are, however, not a guarantee. You should always err on the side of caution and drink less to avoid a DWI.
Blood Alcohol Content Limit | Field Sobriety Tests
In New York state, field sobriety tests can happen in three ways. First, you may be given a series of physical tests. These tests enable the officer to formulate an opinion as to whether or not you are intoxicated, and if so, to what degree. Under New York state law, an officer is allowed to make this determination without administering either of the other two tests. The officer can also charge you with DWI if they observe tell-tale signs indicative of intoxication. These include a smell of alcohol emanating from your person, flushed cheeks, watery or bloodshot eyes, an unsteady gait, and so on.
The second type of field sobriety test in New York is a breath test. In a breath test, the officer requests that you blow into a machine for a certain length of time. The machine will analyze the air coming out of your lungs to determine whether or not you are intoxicated at or past the legal limit.
The third type of field sobriety test in New York is a chemical test. Samples of blood, urine or other bodily fluids are taken and tested to determine your BAC. This test usually takes place at the police department or at a hospital following the arrest.
Blood Alcohol Content Limit | Blood Alcohol Test
If you are stopped in New York and are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer might ask you to take a blood alcohol test. In New York, this typically will consist of a breathalyzer test, but it could also be a blood, urine, or saliva test. The purpose of the test is to determine your Blood Alcohol Content (“BAC”) – essentially the percentage of alcohol in your blood. In New York, driving with a BAC above 0.08% will lead to a DWI charge.
You might be wondering what your options are when an officer in Buffalo asks you to take a blood alcohol test. Buffalo is very strict with their alcohol regulations across the board, and this no tolerance mindset carries over into the blood alcohol testing procedures and policies. In New York, an officer has “implied consent” to require you to submit to a chemical blood alcohol test if he has probable cause that you were operating the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Essentially, if you drive a vehicle in New York, you are impliedly consenting to any chemical tests should an officer suspect you are intoxicated.
Blood alcohol testing in New York usually is usually performed in two different stages: a pre-arrest “breath test,” also known as a “portable breath test” (“PBT”). This test can be administered if there is probable cause you were driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While PBTs are less reliable and less accurate than the testing performed at a police station, they typically cannot be used against you in a DWI trial. More in-depth tests of the officers choosing will be administered after your arrest at the police station. You then have the right to request an additional test, to be administered by the physician of your choosing.
If you have any questions about the blood alcohol content limit, please call our Buffalo DWI lawyer today for a free consultation.