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Understanding the body’s alcohol metabolism rate

On Behalf of | May 25, 2018 | Drunk Driving |

Like many that come to us here at The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo after having been arrested for drunk driving in Cranford, you might question how it is even possible to challenge such a charge. Say that you are stopped for suspicion of drunk driving. A breathalzyer tests shows your blood-alcohol content to be .08. You are arrested and are asked to do a confirmatory chemical breath test one hour later, which registers a reading of .016. This is well within the legal limit, yet the arresting officer says that it simply means most of the alcohol has passed out of your system since you were stopped. 

Is this possible? Not according to researchers. Study information shared by American Addiction Centers shows that your liver can metabolize roughly one ounce of alcohol every hour. In terms of BAC, that means that yours can either rise or fall by .015 in that time. Factors that can influence your body’s alcohol metabolism rate include: 

  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Your body fat content 
  • How much food you have in your system

While these can cause your metabolism rate to be slightly faster or slower, it shouldn’t differ greatly from the average given above. 

So how can the two aforementioned measurements vary so drastically? Research has shown that breathalyzer devices have up to a 50 percent margin for error. Thus, when you blow a .08, your actual BAC could be as low as .03. If a chemical breath (which is proven to be more accurate than a breathalyzer) measures a reading as low as yours after one hour, you could argue the body’s alcohol metabolism rates proves your BAC was actually lower than what the initial breathalyzer test measured. 

More information on challenging drunk driving charges can be found here of our site. 




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