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What are the time constraints on a blood alcohol test?

You know that a blood alcohol test measures the concentration of alcohol — or ethanol — in your blood. These tests contribute to DUI charges and arrests because they help police determine if you’ve been drinking in a more conclusive way than just field sobriety tests. However, are you wondering how soon a test can work and how long it will be good for?

The first thing to know is that the alcohol only needs to be in your body for a few minutes in order for the test to pick it up. As soon as you take a drink, it’s safe to assume that you’re going to register on a test. This is important to note because you may not even feel the effects of the alcohol yet, but you can still be charged if a test is used and you’re over the legal limit.

That said, most people can have one drink and be under the limit, so you’d have to drink very quickly to get enough alcohol in your system in just a few minutes to break the law.

However, your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) will be lower in those minutes after the drink, as it will not max out for about an hour. After that, it stays in your system for a few hours, so most tests have to be done fairly quickly. The length of time that it stays in your system simply depends on how much you drank.

You do have certain rights when it comes to blood alcohol tests and DUIs, and it’s important to know what they are in South Carolina if you’re facing charges.

Source: WebMD, “Blood Alcohol,” accessed May. 20, 2015

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