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What is a BAL Reading?

Posted on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019 at 1:00 pm    

In Florida, it’s illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including lawfully prescribed medications, under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes. Under Sec. 316.193(1)(b) of the Florida Statutes, a person is guilty of DUI if he or she “has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more of alcohol per 100 millimeters of blood” or a “breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.”

Generally, the term is “blood alcohol concentration” or BAC, which refers to the percentage of alcohol in someone’s bloodstream, but in Florida, we use the term BAL, which refers to both “blood alcohol level” and “breath alcohol level.” Both terms refer to the level of alcohol in a driver’s bloodstream, however, there are two different testing methods to determine the amount of alcohol in a DUI suspect’s bloodstream: a breath or blood test.

In Florida, a driver is considered to be legally intoxicated for the purposes of DUI if they have a breath or blood alcohol that is .08% or higher, but it’s important to note that a driver can be arrested for DUI with an even lower BAL. All that matters is that the state can prove that the driver’s ability to drive safely was reduced by the introduction of alcohol.

What Factors Determine BAL?

There are a number of factors that determine BAL, such as:

  • Gender
  • Bodyweight
  • Medications that you’re on
  • If there is food in your stomach and if so, what kind (protein and fats will slow the absorption of alcohol)
  • The number of drinks that you had
  • The strength of the drinks you consumed
  • The rate of consumption (how fast you consumed the drinks)
  • If you are ill or fatigued (sick or tired people are more affected by alcohol)

The BAL/BAC Reading

When you are pulled over on suspicion of DUI, the officer may ask you to take a preliminary breath test roadside, which is a handheld breathalyzer device that measures the BAL in your breath. If you take this test and you’re breath alcohol level measures .08% or higher, you will be arrested for DUI and taken down to the station where you will be asked to take a post-arrest chemical test in the form of a more sophisticated breath test via a breathalyzer machine or a blood test.

The “BAL or BAC reading itself,” simply refers to the level of alcohol in your blood that is determined through a breath or breath test. So, one of the first questions we’d ask if we got your case is, “What was your BAL reading?”

Are you facing DUI charges? To secure a hard-hitting defense, contact the Morris Firm today!