Blood Alcohol Level (BAL)

Blood Alcohol Level & DUI

Learn How a Driver's BAL Affects Tampa DUI Charges

According to Florida Statutes §316.193, it is considered a criminal offense to drive when normal faculties are impaired or when one's blood alcohol level (BAL) is 0.08 percent or higher. Also known as blood alcohol content, blood alcohol concentration, or simply BAC, blood alcohol level refers to the amount of alcohol in an individual’s blood at any given time. This is considered the most accurate way to determine intoxication during a DUI test.

You can rest assured knowing that we will do everything possible to challenge the evidence from blood alcohol testing. Contact our Tampa BAC lawyers today for a free consultation!

Blood Alcohol Levels & Signs of Intoxication

Studies have shown that certain BALs will result in varying levels of impairment. For example, most people will appear to be completely normal between 0.010 and 0.029 percent; however, the higher the blood alcohol level, the more exaggerated their symptoms of intoxication may become.

The estimated effects of alcohol at different BALs include the following:

  • 0.030 to 0.059 - Most people will begin to feel euphoric at this level. It is commonly known as being “buzzed” or “tipsy.” Other behavior symptoms include general relaxation and decreased inhibition. It may affect concentration, but the symptoms are generally unnoticeable.
  • 0.06 to 0.09 - Begins to become legally intoxicated. Most will have less acute feelings and will become more extroverted. They will also struggle with their reasoning and judgment skills. Other impairments may include limited depth perception and peripheral vision.
  • 0.10 to 0.19 - When individuals reach this level, they will often begin to over-express themselves, resulting in wild emotional swings. Impairments begin to affect reflexes and reaction time, as well as general motor control. Many will stagger while walking or slur their speech.

Ask Thomas & Paulk

If you were arrested for DUI with any blood alcohol level, you need a strong defense lawyer in your corner. Thomas & Paulk has been defending clients in Tampa and throughout Florida for more than 20 years. We know how to challenge DUI tests and have dealt with charges involving all blood alcohol levels, low and high. 

To find out how our Tampa DUI defense lawyers can help you, call (813) 321-7323. Your initial consultation is free and private!

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Since 2001, Thomas & Paulk has been representing the interests of people who have been charged with crimes, ranging from first DUIs all the way to violent offenses. We've successfully handled more than 7,000 cases. We have a proven track record in DUI defense.

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BAL Calculations & Tampa DUI Charges

How One's Blood Alcohol Level Is Calculated

There are many ways that a person's BAL may be tested. Many law enforcement officers will take a preliminary step involving field sobriety tests; however, this is only an estimate. More accurate forms of blood alcohol testing involve chemical tests such as breath or blood tests. Even these are not flawless; there are many ways a DUI attorney can challenge them.

For example, the following may be asked about the breath test:

  • Did the defendant take a deep breath from the lungs?
  • Was the machine properly calibrated?
  • Was the test administered during the absorptive phase?
  • Was mouth alcohol present during the test?
  • Did the defendant have diabetes?

A positive answer to any of the above questions could mean that the breath test returned a faulty reading, which should not count in court. 

Similarly, a defense lawyer could attack the prosecution's case regarding a blood test. Although considered accurate, there are still errors that can be made that affect the overall result. If the blood was not correctly stored, did not have the correct amount of anticoagulants or preservatives in the vial, was not inverted following the draw, was not refrigerated, or was not properly labeled, it could be challenged. Even something as simple as swabbing the draw spot with an alcohol-based cleanser could result in faulty readings.

What Does It Take for a Person to Be Legally Drunk?

This is a common question, but the truth is that every person is different. offers an interactive calculator where you can "estimate" what your blood alcohol level would be depending on several factors—including weight, how many drinks you consumed, how long you were drinking, and your gender.

If you were a 120-pound female who drank three 12 ounce beers over one hour, your BAL is estimated at 0.10 percent. However, if you were a 200-pound male, it would only be at 0.04. The calculator is based on a formula provided by the NHTSA, but it is not conclusive. It is only used to demonstrate how different people will be affected by alcohol. 

There is no concrete evidence of how much a person must drink to be considered legally drunk or “under the influence.” 

If you want to avoid a DUI, the only surefire way is not to drink and drive — ever. Unfortunately, even that may not always be enough to protect you. False arrests or wrongful accusations can happen. Regardless of whether you have been wrongfully charged or if you are facing charges that are not proportional to the offense, we may be able to help. 

Blood Alcohol Content & RIDR Sanctions

If a person is charged with their first DUI, they may be eligible for the Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR) program. A person’s eligibility is dependent on their BAC percentage. If they blow over a 0.20 or higher BAC, they will not be eligible for RIDR.

Interested in learning more? Contact Thomas & Paulk today!

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