DUI Attorney Redwood City Explains Important Variables in Evaluating Effects of Alcohol on Driving

Posted on August 28, 2015

Drink and Car Key

As a DUI attorney Redwood City will attest, understanding variables related to the effects of alcohol on driving is an important part in the defense of anyone charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). There are many variables that can affect how alcohol is absorbed, distributed and eliminated. These and other factors can play a role in whether someone has a defense against a DUI charge in court.

Individual Information

Some of the variables that affect the absorption of alcohol which can lead to intoxication are based on individual differences. Men have an enzyme that helps them break down alcohol more effectively than women while women often have a higher percentage of body fat which does not absorb alcohol, leaving a higher concentration in the bloodstream. Larger people also have more blood and water in their body so that blood alcohol concentrations leading to lower blood alcohol content. Other factors that have been shown to have an effect on blood alcohol content include:

  • Ethnicity
  • Occupation
  • Chemical exposure
  • Age the person first started drinking
  • Frequency of alcohol use
  • Alcoholism diagnosis
  • Vision problems such as near-sightedness
Medical Issues

Medical conditions can also affect the absorption of alcohol in the bloodstream, and some can actually mimic the symptoms of driving under the influence. An article published in the 2003 issue of Medical and Toxicological Information Review reported that hypoglycemia, a condition where low levels of glucose are found in the bloodstream, is a frequent cause of driving errors in the United States. In addition, diabetics, individuals with higher than normal blood sugar levels, may have a higher level of acetone on their breath which can cause false positive breathalyzer results. Stomach surgeries, such as gastric bypass, may also cause alcohol to move much more quickly from the stomach and into the bloodstream. Other medical conditions that may cause a driver to appear to be intoxicated include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Illness or injury
  • Under doctor or dentist care
  • Prescription drug use
  • Sleep patterns such as the last time someone slept and how long they slept
Driving Behavior

Another factor that an attorney should review is the driving behavior of the person behind the wheel. The first thing to confirm is that the person charged was the person who was actually driving and whether the behavior that caused the initial traffic stop was actually observed by the driver as well as how long the officer witnessed the behavior. Distractions in the vehicle may also have a bearing on whether the driver was intoxicated or if there were any mechanical malfunctions that may have led to suspicious driving. If the driver was unfamiliar with the route, their driving may have been erratic. In addition, witness testimony may be able to refute that the suspicious driving occurred. Timeline In addition to determining what behavior was actually observed by the police officer who made the arrest, an attorney should inquire as to the date and time the officer observed the driving issue. If the driver had consumed alcohol, the date and time they started drinking will be important, especially in relationship to the time they stopped drinking and the time of the officer observed them driving improperly. How much alcohol was consumed will have an impact as well, along with the type, ounces and alcohol concentration in the drinks. It is important to document how many drinks were consumed at least an hour and a half prior to the traffic stop as well as any alcohol consumed before the police officer arrived on the scene, especially in the case of an accident. Because food consumption can affect the absorption of alcohol, the type and amount of food consumed could also be a factor in a DUI charge as a DUI attorney Redwood City will explain.

Contact a DUI Attorney Redwood City

All of these factors can have a significant impact on any driving under the influence charge. For this reason, choosing a qualified DUI attorney Redwood City is critical. If you or a loved one has been charged with driving under the influence, contact our office to set up a consultation with a DUI attorney Redwood City as soon as possible to learn what defense may work best for you. Call Silveira Law at (415) 795-3890.

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