What is a rising blood alcohol level claim in a DUI case?

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2024 | Blood Alcohol Tests

A motorist who has been arrested for a driving under the influence (DUI) infraction faces the risk of numerous consequences. A judge could sentence them to probation or a certain amount of time in state custody, especially if this was not their first offense. The courts could also impose fines and suspend someone’s driver’s license.

Sometimes, the details of a situation raise significant questions about the validity of the state’s case. For example, certain types of evidence are usually necessary for South Carolina prosecutors to obtain a conviction in a DUI case. Clear proof of someone’s impairment at the wheel or a failed chemical test is usually necessary to secure a conviction if a defendant asserts their innocence.

Sometimes, a defendant’s lawyer can raise credible questions about the accuracy of chemical test results. Sometimes, a claim about rising blood alcohol concentration (BAC) could affect the state’s case against an allegedly drunk driver. What does a rising BAC claim involve?

Police officers may have violated best practices

There are very clear rules about how police officers gather evidence of impaired driving. They need a justification to stop someone and probable cause to request a chemical test. Even when they have reason to test someone, they need to do so in accordance with current best practices.

South Carolina generally requires that police officers conduct a test within two hours of someone actively operating a motor vehicle. Lengthy delays could lead to questionable test results. The body continues metabolizing or breaking down alcohol for many hours after someone finishes drinking. Particularly if someone had drinks not long before a traffic stop, their BAC might continue to rise substantially.

The possibility that someone’s BAC could be higher when the police test them than it was when they were in control of the vehicle is what inspired the two-hour window for testing. If police officers wait too long to perform a chemical test after pulling someone over, a defense attorney could potentially undermine the accuracy of the test results or get the courts to exclude them from the prosecutor’s case altogether.

Numerous small mistakes on the part of police officers or state laboratory employees could raise questions about the accuracy of breath test results and other key forms of forensic evidence. Looking carefully at the state’s evidence when seeking legal guidance can help those facing South Carolina DUI charges evaluate their options for a solid defense strategy.

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