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Attorneys William R. Christoph & Nicholas W. Christoph

What are Oceanside DUI Absorbtion and Burnoff Rates?

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2013

DUI absorbtion and burnoff refer to the rates at which alcohol is absorbed into the blood after drinking and the rate it is burned off through metabolism.  These rates often play a part in negotiations and trial.  The “drunk driving” or “driving under the influence” laws make it illegal to drive while affected or .08 blood alcohol (BA) level or more even if it cannot be shown your are impaired.  It is your BA level at time of driving which is relevant.  That BA level is constantly changing, either going up or down based on a number of factors.  The absorption rates and burnoff rates are used to extrapolate BA levels at time of driving from time of test.

This is not an exact science.  These rates are effected by weight of the individual, amount and type of alcohol consumed, time of consumption, empty or full stomach, individual metabolism and time of test.  While individual rates may vary, it is suggested that on an empty stomach alcohol is absorbed faster, BA goes higher quicker and falls faster.  It may take 30-45 minutes to fully absorb an alcoholic drink on an empty stomach and over an hour on a full stomach.  Each drink is roughly considered to add .02 BA to your total BA, however it could add more or less depending on body weight and other factors.  An alcoholic drink is considered a 4 oz. glass of wine, 12 oz. beer, or shot of 80 proof liquor.  If you drink 4 beers in quick succession, you would be a .08 BA after the last beer 30 -45 minutes later and rising to that point during that period of time.  You may be a .04 BA after 20 minutes if tested and .08 BA 45 minutes later.  That is why BA varies from time of driving. 

The burnoff rate is generally .02 per hour, but could be more or less depending on all the same factors.  So if you told the officer you quite drinking 2 hours ago, you are a falling BA and if tested at a .08 BA an hour after arrest, your BA at time of driving could be estimated at .10 at driving.  That is also a part of the reason why field breath tests may differ from actual tests at the jail.  Christoph Law Offices have handled over 3000 DUI cases over more than 30 years, call us for a free consultation and evaluation at 760-670-3885.  Let us help you get the best resolution in your case.



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