Facing a DWI charge in New York can be daunting, but understanding the rising blood alcohol content (BAC) defense can be a game-changer. This defense is based on how alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream over time, which can lead a person to exhibit a higher BAC reading after driving than during their actual time behind the wheel.

Rising BAC can be a strong defense against DWI charges, but in order for this defense to stick, you’ll need a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side. Luckily, the Nassau County, Long Island DWI defense attorney Gianni Karmily is here to help. With years of experience handling DWAI and DWI cases in Nassau County, you can rest easy knowing that your case is in good hands.

Call (516) 630-3405 (Great Neck Office) or (516) 614-4228 (Hempstead Office) today to schedule a case evaluation with our criminal defense team.

What is the Legal Limit for BAC in New York?

After alcohol consumption, a person will have alcohol present in their bloodstream.

Their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will reflect just how much alcohol they have in their blood, providing a relative measurement of how intoxicated they are. This can be measured through a chemical test, usually a breath or blood test.

In New York State, drivers over the age of 21 are prohibited from having a BAC of 0.08% or higher when behind the wheel. On top of that, those with a commercial drivers license are prohibited from having a BAC of 0.04% or higher while driving a commercial vehicle. It’s important to note that these BAC levels can result in a regular DWI charge in New York, but drivers with even lower BAC levels than this can still be charged with a DWAI in New York depending on specific circumstances.

New York also enforces a ‘Zero Tolerance Law’ for drivers under the age of 21. Minors under the legal drinking age are prohibited from having a BAC of 0.02% or more. Penalties for violating New York’s DWI laws include fines, jail time, and suspension of a driver’s license, among other driving restrictions.

What is Rising Blood Alcohol Concentration?

“Rising blood alcohol concentration” refers to the phenomenon where the concentration of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream increases over time. After a person consumes an alcoholic drink, the alcohol won’t immediately be present in his or her blood; the human body has to metabolize the alcohol before it reaches the bloodstream. Because of this, a driver’s BAC will increase, even after they stop drinking.

How the Body Absorbs Alcohol

When people consume alcohol, the digestive system begins breaking it down. The stomach lining will absorb a small amount of alcohol, usually within 10 minutes, which will then pass directly into the person’s blood. From there, the small intestine will process a majority of the alcohol. It can take the small intestine around 30-90 minutes to fully absorb alcohol.

How Do BAC Levels Change Over Time?

A person’s BAC level will only peak after the alcohol in their system has been fully absorbed into their bloodstream. Since this process can take some time, their BAC may not peak for another hour after they’re finished drinking. After peaking, the body will slowly metabolize the alcohol in a person’s blood until it’s all broken down and excreted, causing their BAC to decrease.

Factors That Can Affect Alcohol Absorption in the Body

Most people know that if you have an alcoholic beverage on an empty stomach, you’ll get more intoxicated more quickly. That’s because food can affect the body’s alcohol absorption rate. Other factors like a person’s weight, sex, and metabolism can affect how quickly their body will absorb alcohol.

How Rising BAC Can Result in a False Result on a DWI Breath Test or Blood Test

Since alcohol takes time to fully absorb, a person’s BAC will steadily increase for a period of time after they stop drinking. Because of this, the timing of a chemical test could significantly affect the result of the BAC test.

For example, someone could finish their drink at dinner and drive home because they don’t feel intoxicated. This may mean that their BAC is under the legal limit at that time. However, if they are pulled over, and there’s a significant period of time between when they were driving and when they were tested, their BAC may rise to a level that exceeds the legal limit, even though it was below the limit when they first started driving.

What is the Rising BAC Defense for DWIs?

The “rising BAC” defense uses the science behind alcohol absorption as a legal defense against drunk driving charges. The argument here is that a driver’s BAC could have been below the legal limit while they were operating the vehicle, but rose to an illegal level by the time they were tested by the police officer.

How the Rising Blood Alcohol Defense Can Be Used to Fight a DWI Charge in New York

In order to utilize this defense, Long Island DWI attorneys will have to present concrete evidence outlining the timeline of events, from when their client finished their last drink to when their BAC was tested. This will establish just how much time elapsed between the last drink and the BAC test. From there, our Nassau County, Long Island criminal defense attorneys will likely have to call in expert witnesses, like toxicology experts, who can help provide a plausible timeline regarding the client’s ability to absorb alcohol.

All of these factors can prove that the person accused of DUI could have reasonably been under the legal limit for the duration of their drive. The only reason they failed the BAC test was because they were tested too long after they stopped driving.

It’s important to note that the rising BAC defense will not work in every DUI case, and likely cannot defend against things like failed field sobriety tests. Additionally, even if the rising BAC defense is applicable to a given case, it’s still a difficult argument to make. However, a skilled criminal defense attorney like Gianni Karmily will know exactly how to present this defense in court in order to cast reasonable doubt on the prosecution’s claims.

Call Nassau County, Long Island DWI Lawyers at the Law Firm of Gianni Karmily Today

A DUI conviction can affect many aspects of your life and can limit your ability to drive for months and even years after your conviction. If you are facing DUI charges as a result of a delayed breath or chemical test, experienced DUI attorney Gianni Karmily is here to help defend your rights.

At the Law Firm of Gianni Karmily, we have extensive experience in DWI defense and have an in-depth understanding of defenses like the rising BAC defense. With our extensive experience in handling DUI cases, you can rest easy knowing that your case is in capable hands. We will fight hard to ensure you receive the best outcome possible in your case, and may even be able to have a first time DWI charge dismissed altogether.

Don’t fight your battles alone– call (516) 630-3405 (Great Neck Office) or (516) 614-4228 (Hempstead Office) today to schedule a case evaluation with our criminal defense team.