Even if you have never been stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, or DUI, you have undoubtedly heard the acronym “BAC” before given how pervasive the use of that term is in the United States. You may even know that it is against the law in the State of Nebraska to operate a vehicle with a BAC higher than 0.08 percent. Do you actually know though what the acronym BAC stands for and how your BAC is determined? If you do not currently know the answer to those questions, you should.
“BAC” stands for “Blood Alcohol Content”, though you may also hear it explained as “Blood Alcohol Concentration.” An individual’s BAC level reflects the percentage of ethanol in the blood in units of mass of alcohol per volume of blood. For example, a BAC of 0.1 (0.1% or one tenth of one percent) means that there are 0.10 g of alcohol for every dL of blood. Why is it important to know how much alcohol is in a suspect’s blood? The short answer is that there is a direct correlation between the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream and your level of intoxication.
Prior to the use of chemical testing for DUI suspects most statutes simply made it illegal to drive while “intoxicated” or drive while “under the influence”. The problem with these statutes was that it was difficult to some up with a universally accepted definition of “intoxicated” or “under the influence”, resulting in acquittals when a DUI case went to trial. With the advent of chemical testing that was able to determine the amount of alcohol in a subject’s bloodstream many DUI statutes changed to make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC over a specified limit.
Although the extent of the effect of alcohol in a subject’s bloodstream remains a controversial subject, everyone agrees that the higher a subject’s BAC level the more intoxicated the person is. Numerous charts purportedly show what happens to a person at various BAC levels. The problem with those charts, however, is that while it is possible to determine a subject’s BAC level, there are various factors that impact the effect of alcohol at that level on an individual. Someone who consumes alcohol on a regular basis, for example, may show no outward signs of intoxication at a BAC of 0.08 percent while someone who rarely consumes alcohol may clearly appear intoxicated with the same BAC level. In addition, because of the way alcohol is metabolized in your body, you may actually have a higher BAC an hour or two after you stop drinking even though the intoxicating effects of the alcohol have already started to disappear.
The law in the State of Nebraska, however, makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher regardless of whether you believe you were intoxicated at the time. If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Nebraska contact the Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney.