Absorption Or Elimination In Alcohol DUI Cases
When we’re talking about DUI and blood results it’s important to understand how your body processes alcohol. You will go through an absorption phase.
This is when you drink alcohol. It’s going to go into your stomach.
Your body is going to process it and it will enter into your bloodstream, you’ll feel the effects of alcohol.
Once you have stopped consuming alcohol your body is no longer going to be absorbing it anymore after a certain period of time and your body will begin processing what’s already in your blood and you’ll be eliminating the alcohol.
So when we plot that on a chart this is more or less how it looks.
Over a certain period of time which we have here on the bottom, your blood alcohol content will rise as you start to consume alcohol it will reach a peak and then your body will start to process it out and it will eliminate the alcohol from your body.
And so your blood alcohol content will rise, it will peak and then it will start to decline again. You will absorb all the alcohol that’s in your body and you will eliminate it over a certain period of time.
There are different math equations and different calculations you can do to basically calculate exactly what that’s going to be. We’re not going to cover that in this video. But this curve here is important to understand and how it works. It’s not immediate.
So if you just guzzle a whole bottle of vodka which is not responsible. Don’t do that, drink responsibly.
Then it’s, you will slowly see your body start to process it and so what we have here, I have diagrammed out, you have this red line here which is going to be basically the legal limit in Arizona and many other states. I think if not every other state of .08 So at a .079 that’s where you start to get really into the danger zone because at a .08 or above that’s where it’s illegal.
You are now presumed to be under the influence of alcohol when you hit that level. You can still get a DUI for less than that but that’s another topic.
So you can see here that I have a couple different vertical lines draw. So and these lines can move but let’s start here. So let’s say for example somebody started consuming alcohol then an officer stopped them. When they stopped driving they were technically right here. So they were stopped at this point in time but their blood alcohol content was a .079. So they were technically under the legal limit.
They were under that .80 number. They were stopped here. But let’s say this individual, maybe in the last hour or so, before they left a bar or a party or whatever, they had taken a shot of alcohol.
They had taken a drink, they had taken, had consumed alcohol and that alcohol was still in their stomach. It had not been processed yet.
So when that officer stopped them, when they were driving the vehicle for this whole period of time they were not over the legal limit.
The officer stopped them, the body than processed the remainder of the alcohol and so at the time that the officer did the field sobriety tests, had them blow into the portable breath test or did any of those things that gave the officer cause to make the arrest they may have been well over the legal limit.
Then by the time the officer took that individual back down to the police station or to the DUI, RV, or wherever they went, that person was now in the elimination phase so that BAC level had peaked and then it became, the person started eliminating that and so at the time that that person’s blood was drawn or they did an intoxilyzer test maybe that blood result came back down under the legal limit.
So you can see here how this can affect and how this can change over the course of a very short investigation. And really there’s nobody to say that maybe this person would not have been home or would have been off the road prior to the time they hit that arrest, prior to the time they hit the peak BAC.
So you can see here how this works.
Let’s maybe move these lines a little bit. So let’s say for example we shift everything this way. We shift everything earlier in time and we can say that maybe the person was stopped here early in time when their BAC was very very low.
So let’s say they were just coming out of a bar. Maybe they hadn’t had anything to drink.
They consumed a high quantity of alcohol very quickly and they got in the car and they were going to race home before they actually felt the effects of alcohol.
So the officer stopped them here because the officer stopped them for no reason. Maybe they forgot to turn their headlights on or something and the officer stopped them here.
Then at the time that the officer actually conducted the arrest, they were maybe here because their body started, they started to feel the effects of alcohol.
Then by the time they did the chemical test they were at the peak level. So there’s a big difference here then between what they were actually, what their blood alcohol content was when they were actually driving the car versus when the officer took the test. A big difference. They may have been stopped here on the road. They were driving at this point but by the time the officer did the test they were at the peak BAC.
So everything shifted this way. Things can also shift this way.
So say for example the officer stopped a person here at the time where their peak blood alcohol content was at the highest and by the time the officer conducted the arrest and by the time they got down to the station and did the actual test, their blood alcohol content may have actually been significantly lower.
So the test may come back significantly lower than maybe what the person felt.
So this is how that absorption and elimination phase works in theory. It may apply to your case, it may not but it is important that you understand how that works.
So sometimes people will come into our office and they’ll say, “I’m very concerned “about what my blood results are going to be. “I felt very intoxicated. “I felt the effects of alcohol a lot “but they didn’t take the test for maybe two hours later.” And so the blood alcohol content might be significantly lower.
We have it otherwise unfortunately as well. Where sometimes people will come in and say, I did not feel the effects of alcohol at all but because of the absorption, they were stopped here but by the time they did the test, the test result may come back significantly higher here.
And so there are arguments to be made about that and we can use that and how this all breaks down the absorption and the elimination in certain cases and certain strategies and certain scenarios. But it’s important you understand how that works just so you can understand that look, your blood result may be what your blood result is but that doesn’t necessarily mean that that is what it was at the time of driving.
Your body absorbs and eliminates alcohol over a curve that looks like this.
So if this is something that may apply to you, if you’ve been charged with DUI, if somebody you know has been charged with DUI, we want to reverse engineer some of these numbers. See how much you had to drink, see when you stopped drinking, kind of make some estimates as to where you were in this phase.
We want to sit down with you and do that and make sure that we understand where that is so we can begin strategizing, building a strategy moving forward. I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions about it give our office a call.
We offer a free case evaluation. Look forward to speaking with you.
Thanks for watching.
The video explains how a person’s body absorbs and eliminates alcohol after consumption. After consumption, the alcohol a person consumed ends up in their stomach, which is absorbed into their body, and finally makes its way into their bloodstream. Once the alcohol enters a person’s bloodstream, they start to feel the effects of alcohol. After alcohol is no longer being consumed a “peak” level of blood alcohol concentration will be reached and the body will enter the elimination phase. In summary, your blood alcohol concentration will rise through absorption, it will peak, and then start eliminating it.
The viewer is educated on the process of alcohol absorption and elimination. The importance of knowing how our bodies process alcohol is imperative, especially when a client is facing DUI charges. Having some sort of idea about the stage our bodies are at when consuming alcohol (i.e. absorption vs elimination) can potentially save an individual from facing severe consequences.
It is emphasized that the amount of time it takes for alcohol to be processed and absorbed into the body, can ultimately determine the readings on blood tests and whether they are under or over Arizona’s legal limit of alcohol. As a reminder, here in the state of Arizona, like in most states, when a person is at least 21 years old and their Blood Alcohol Content or Concentration (BAC) is at or above the legal limit of 0.80, they will be facing legal repercussions.
Certain factors that can impact the results of field testing done by a police officer after a traffic stop. The officers are looking for clues to arrest a suspected impaired driver. It is possible that a person’s alcohol concentration while driving could potentially be significantly higher or lower by the time an arrest is made and a blood test is taken. This means it is entirely possible that a person could be under the legal limit while driving, but from the time an officer makes a traffic stop and finally draws the person’s blood, their blood test result could be above the legal limit.
It is extremely important for a person who is facing DUI charges, to sit down with their attorney, who has experience and expertise in DUI defense to research their case and formulate the best defense possible. As with any legal matter, there are multiple approaches that can be put into practice to obtain the best possible outcome for each person’s case.
In summary, this video has explained in detail how our bodies absorb alcohol, as well as, how our bodies eliminate this same substance and while these two processes are taking place the readings of alcohol in the system can reflect unrelated results. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that everyone’s composition is unique and because of this, the effects of alcohol in each person will differ. As always, if a person has consumed alcohol it is advised to never get behind the wheel of a car. Please drink responsibly.