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Types of BAC Testing in DC DUI Cases

The types of BAC testing in DC DUI cases someone partakes in could impact the outcome of their charge. For instance, blood testing and urine testing measure very different things. Blood testing determines the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. This is the same measurement taken by breathalyzer tests. An established DUI attorney could help you determine how to handle any suggested testing in your case.

Breath Tests vs. Blood Testing

The difference between blood testing and breath testing is that breath testing uses the amount of alcohol in someone’s breath and converts that to the amount of alcohol in their blood. The idea is that when a person submits a breath sample; they submit a sample of their breath that is deep inside their lungs.

This is why they have to give such a long and deep breath; they cannot just quickly blow into a machine. When a person submits that deep and long breath sample, there is a correlation between the amount of alcohol in their long breath and the amount of alcohol in their bloodstream.

What Happens When Someone Submits a Breath Sample?

When someone submits a breath sample, the breathalyzer machine converts that number into a blood alcohol content ratio. In theory, it should be the same as if a person submitted to a direct draw of their blood, for example, by a nurse at a hospital where their blood could be directly tested. In theory, the breathalyzer machine results and the blood draw results should be the same.

How Does Urine Testing Differ in BAC Detection?

Urine testing does not necessarily have a correlation between the amount of alcohol in the person’s urine and the amount of alcohol in the person’s breath or blood. The two types of testing evaluate very different things.

To understand the impact of many types of BAC testing in DC DUI cases, the accused should understand how blood alcohol level is determined.

When someone consumes alcohol, the alcohol is first digested by their stomach and passes through their system. Eventually, some of it goes into their bloodstream and is then filtered through their blood by their kidneys and ends up in their bladder.

Understanding the Purpose of Testing Someone’s BAC Level

The purpose of testing for a person’s blood alcohol content is that there is a direct correlation between a person’s blood alcohol and their level of impairment. The higher a person’s blood alcohol content; one expects a higher blood alcohol content result.

For example, a person with a blood alcohol content reading of .05 may have a low level of impairment. They may not be impaired at all or to any noticeable degree.

Someone who has a blood alcohol content of .16 may be at a much higher level of impairment and may exhibit higher levels of impairment. There is a correlation between how high a person’s blood alcohol content is and their level of impairment.

What is the Impact of Urine Testing?

Out of the several types of BAC testing in DC DUI cases, urine-testing can be impacted through filtering. Someone could have an extremely high urine alcohol content because their blood is being filtered constantly and alcohol is constantly being filtered into their bladder. However, that person is not actually being affected by the alcohol in their urine.

They may have been affected by that alcohol at one point, but all the urine alcohol is really able to tell is an average amount of alcohol that a person consumed over a period of time. It does not necessarily reflect the level of a person’s impairment at the time they submit the urine sample.

Consequently, urine testing can result in a much higher urine alcohol content than the result would be if a person submits to a breath test or a blood test. Nonetheless, urine alcohol content is still usable to determine a person’s impairment under DC laws.

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