Does Smoking Alter the BAC Test?
The blood-alcohol content (BAC) test, usually performed by a breathalyzer, is one of the most common tests to determine if you have been driving under the influence of alcohol. Police officers and prosecutors will use the results of a BAC test to show that a person was not able to drive safely at the time of an arrest and was putting other people in danger.
If you have ever been charged with a DUI or been asked to take a breathalyzer, you have likely talked to DUI lawyers in Mesa about what those results mean and what your options are. What the most experienced Arizona DUI attorneys are likely to tell you is that there are multiple factors that can i nfluence a BAC test, which means that there are multiple options for challenging a BAC test.
Smoking and Blood Alcohol
Smoking is very common, and many DUI cases involve smokers. Research has shown that smoking influences the body’s metabolism and that it influences blood-alcohol levels. One study in the British Medical Journal found that concentrations of blood alcohol in smokers “were significantly less during the smoking period compared with the non-smoking period.”
Essentially, the study showed that BAC levels can be lower in smokers. However, this is not universally true, and that has to do with the way the BAC test works.
A problem known as “non-specific analysis” can cause many false readings in a breathalyzer test. For example, some breath machines don’t report on just alcohol levels. Instead, they report on the presence of a methyl group, which includes alcohol but also includes other substances.
One substance that these machines often flag is acetaldehyde. This is a compound produced by the liver after metabolizing alcohol. Acetaldehyde can also form in the lungs when alcohol moves from the blood to the lungs. Research published in the Journal of Laboratory Clinical Medicine showed that smokers have higher concentrations of acetaldehyde in the lungs. What that means is that even if the person has had one drink, a machine that operates on non-specific analysis could flag that acetaldehyde and report a higher blood-alcohol content than what there is.
Other Things that Can Influence a BAC Test
Smoking is not the only thing that can skew the rests of a BAC test. If you have a zinc deficiency, that can cause metabolic issues that may show higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood that what is actual. Asthma inhalers can also cause a breathalyzer to flag higher levels of alcohol in the blood, as can the inhalation of gasoline or paint (through regular pumping of gas or just painting your bedroom over the weekend.
Certain health conditions and even your race can influence your metabolism of alcohol, and all that can influence the readings you get on a breathalyzer, regardless of whether you’ve actually drank more than you should or you are actually a danger on the road.
If you ever get a high reading on a BAC test or are arrested for DUI, it’s important that you talk with several DUI defense lawyers in Glendale to learn about your legal options. The best DUI attorneys serving in Glendale understand the different influences that can skew a BAC test, and they will explore them all to determine if your case may have been affected by many of them. If your attorney can challenge the veracity of the test, that can undermine the charges against you and improve your chances of avoiding legal consequences. Talk through all the circumstances of your DUI arrest to determine the potential influences and the best legal strategy.
My AZ Lawyers is ready to help if you have been charged with DUI or are facing other consequences as the result of a BAC test in the Mesa, Glendale, Tucson, or Phoenix areas. Our experienced Tucson DUI defense lawyers understand the different ways that a BAC test can produce a false reading, and they are ready to explore those options to help you avoid conviction or penalty. They will explore every legal option for helping you avoid a conviction that can follow you for years, or to minimize your penalties where it is not possible to avoid conviction. Call us today to talk with one of our DUI defense attorneys about your legal options.
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