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Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer > Blog > Criminal Defense > How Is Blood Alcohol Measured in Florida DUI Cases?

How Is Blood Alcohol Measured in Florida DUI Cases?


In Florida DUI cases, an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is typically cited. But if you care for someone who is currently facing DUI charges or have been arrested yourself, you may be wondering how blood alcohol is measured and how the data gathered is used in the legal process.

To build a defense for yourself or connect a loved one with legal expertise, reach out to a Clearwater criminal defense lawyer. A skilled attorney will explore potential defenses as soon as they are hired.

Breathalyzer Tests Estimate BAC

Most people are familiar with breathalyzer tests whether they have taken one or not. This is because these tests are common methods used to measure BAC across the country. Essentially, a breathalyzer device estimates BAC by analyzing a person’s breath.

The process of a breathalyzer:

  • A breath sample is taken. A person suspected of DUI is asked to use their breath to blow into a handheld device which is called a breathalyzer.
  • Detection of ethanol. The breathalyzer itself is designed to detect the presence of ethanol, which is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages.
  • Calculation of BAC. Once the device has calculated the amount of ethanol detected in the breath sample, the device calculates the BAC and provides a numerical reading.
  • Law enforcement assesses the BAC reading. In Florida, it is illegal for individuals to operate a motor vehicle if they have a BAC of 0.08% or higher. So, if a person is pulled over, participates in a breathalyzer test, and the reading exceeds the legal limit, the BAC number will be used as evidence in a DUI case.

It is important to note that breathalyzer tests do have limitations. For example, mouth alcohol, residual alcohol, and certain medical conditions could influence the outcome of readings. It can be possible for a person who is not intoxicated to have a high BAC reading after blowing into  a breathalyzer device. If you believe your BAC reading was incorrect, discuss the possibility of disputing the results with an experienced Florida lawyer.

Blood Draws and Urine Tests

Another method used to measure BAC are blood draws, which are blood samples drawn from the suspect and sent to a laboratory for analysis. In these situations, a medical expert or trained phlebotomist will collect a blood sample. Then, the sample is analyzed in a lab and the BAC results are shared with the appropriate authorities. Much less common, urine tests can be used as an alternative method to measure BAC, but they are generally considered less accurate because hydration levels can influence urine potency.

Challenges to BAC evidence have been done successfully. To start a challenge, a Clearwater criminal defense lawyer will examine the procedures used, the qualifications of the individuals administering the tests, and the handling of samples.

What BAC questions do you have following a Florida DUI arrest? The attorneys at the King Law Group will listen compassionately to your story and walk you through potential defense avenues. Schedule your free consultation.

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