Elevated BAC in Colonial Heights

During a DUI arrest, suspects will be given a breath or blood test to measure their blood alcohol content (BAC). Many people are familiar with the 0.08 standard, above which an individual is presumed to be intoxicated. However, 0.08 is not the only important BAC level in a Colonial Heights DUI case.

Under Virginia law, there is also something called an elevated BAC. This means that someone’s blood alcohol level is so high that the Virginia Assembly believes they need to face more consequences than in other DUI cases.

If your breathalyzer or blood test results showed you had an elevated BAC in Colonial Heights, you could face serious penalties including jail time. However, a well-versed DUI attorney has the skills needed to fight these charges in court. Call today to schedule a consultation and discuss defense strategies.

What is Considered an Elevated BAC Level in Colonial Heights?

There are four important BAC levels when dealing with a Colonial Heights DUI. The lowest important BAC level is 0.05. If someone is arrested for a DUI but blows a 0.05 or under, they are presumed to be sober unless other substances are involved.

Between 0.05 and 0.08, a person could still be charged with a DUI. However, the law does not presume a person to be intoxicated, so the case can be more difficult for the prosecution to prove. Above a 0.08, a person is presumed to be intoxicated.

If a person’s blood or breath test is above 0.15, it is considered an elevated BAC in Colonial Heights. An elevated BAC means someone will face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five days. With a BAC of .20 or higher, the penalties are even more severe. Someone with this BAC faces a mandatory ten days in jail if convicted of a DUI first offense.

Challenging Elevated BAC Charges

There are several defenses available for DUIs that involve elevated BAC. Defense attorneys often try to get the BAC suppressed. They could accomplish this through several types of motions, including ones to:

  • Suppress the probable cause for the arrest
  • Suppress the traffic stop
  • Cross the breathalyzer reading due to faulty maintenance on the machine

A criminal lawyer could also challenge the BAC through procedural issues and a waiting period. For certain DUI cases, defense counsel could also employ an expert witness to challenge the result of the BAC is another way.

Breathalyzer Rules

There is a list of rules for operating a breathalyzer, and if the person administering the test does not follow these rules, the results may not be admissible. For example, there is a 20 minute waiting period before a breathalyzer test, during which a DUI suspect must be observed. The officer needs to make sure that the DUI suspect did not burp, vomit, or hiccup during this waiting period, because it can affect the results. Breathalyzer machines also need to be regularly maintained and calibrated, and officers need to be properly trained in their use.

Talking to a Colonial Heights DUI Attorney About Your Elevated BAC

If you face DUI charges because you had an elevated BAC in Colonial Heights, you should start thinking about your legal options. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you avoid the most serious penalties, including jail time. However, your defense options may narrow the longer you wait. Call a Colonial Heights DUI attorney today to discuss your case.