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Using a breath test to determine your BAC

If you happen to be pulled over for suspicion of driving while drunk in Hot Springs, then you have to assume that a breath test is forthcoming. While you do not have to submit to preliminary alcohol screenings (e.g., breathalyzer tests), you should that you are compelled to take an actual chemical breath it is requested. Many of those who come to us here at the Tapp Law Firm facing drunk driving charges question the need for breath testing if it is your blood alcohol content that determines whether you are impaired. Can your breath actually yield a reliable BAC measurement? 

According to The Alcohol Pharmacology Education Partnership, once you consume alcohol (or technically ethanol, which is the form of alcohol used in most drinks), it escapes through the lining of your stomach and/or intestines, where it is taken to the heart and then ultimately, the lungs. Once in the lungs, it moves from the blood through the capillaries and into the alveoli (the tiny air sacs in your lungs). It remains in the mucous lining of the alveoli as a liquid. However, as it comes in contact with the oxygen you breath in, causing some of it to vaporize into a gaseous state. That gas is then exhaled as you breathe. More liquid ethanol in the alveoli is vaporized as you breathe out to ensure its content in your lungs remains balanced. 

Thus, with every breath, your BAC lowers, making it harder to determine what its concentration was while you were actually driving. This knowledge may serve to support your questioning the accuracy of any breath test used to measure your level of impairment. More information on defending yourself against drunk driving charges can be found here on our site. 

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