How does the Blood Alcohol level (BAC) testing work?

Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) – When you consume alcohol it is absorbed into your blood stream. The amount of alcohol in your blood is called your Blood Alcohol Content (“BAC”) and it is normally measured either by a Breathalyzer test (most common), or a blood test.

Breathalyzer Test – this is the most common method used to get a reading of your BAC. Breathalyzers do not directly measure blood alcohol content or concentration, which requires the analysis of a blood sample. Instead, they estimate BAC indirectly by measuring the amount of alcohol in one’s breath.

Blood Test – Your BAC can be determined from taking your blood, which is often automatically taken if you are involved in an accident and there is a suspicion that you may have been drinking.

Your blood will also be drawn if you are taken to the hospital because the police are concerned that you may have had so much to drink that you are in danger of alcohol poisoning and should be hospitalized for observation and/or treatment.

In all states, you are presumed to be unable to safely operate a vehicle if your BAC is .08, or 8 percent, or greater.

In Maryland that 8% level is used, and Maryland also has a “zero tolerance” law that makes it illegal for people under age 21 to operate a vehicle with ANY amount of alcohol in their blood.

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