Fresno Area DUI Safety Tips By Criminal Defense Attorney Jonathan Rooker
Fresno County DUI's and the Fresno County is a vast area consisting of rural towns, small cities, and a large metropolitan area. Due to many factors, once being the same government that authors DUI laws grants permits to build parking lots outside of them, often requiring a MINIMUM number of automobile parking stalls, we have a significant number of DUI arrests and accidents.
Unlike many large cities such as San Francisco, New York, San Jose, Los Angeles, and numerous other cities, Fresno, especially the vast expanse of Fresno County and the included towns and cities, lack a mass transit system capable of handling the after hours traffic, which statistically accounts for a majority of the DUI arrests and accidents.
We, as citizens need to be responsible with our use of alcohol, and our awareness of our surroundings. There are many options that may assist, such as tracking the alcohol and time period of consumption when you will be driving. It is not illegal to have alcohol in your system, it is illegal to be impaired while driving. We also must understand that the chart the DMV gives to estimate your blood alcohol content may be tragically inaccurate as to your specific blood alcohol content. People absorption rate, distribution, metabolism, and elimination of alcohol very significantly between individuals. Medical text books have stated that under ideal circumstances, 80-90% the alcohol orally consumed will be absorbed into the blood stream within 1 hour. However, under less than "ideal" circumstances it can take 2-6 hours for full absorption of alcohol into the blood stream to occur. Less than ideal includes food in the stomach, delayed gastric emptying, use of acetaminophen, alcohol stronger than than 20% (roughly) when pyloric spasms occur, or low concentration of alcohol in the drinks consumed such as light beer.
The above information is important, because a person who consumes alcohol cannot begin to metabolize the alcohol until it reaches the liver. It reaches the liver by travelling though the Portal Vein, or Hepatic Vein from the small intestine to the liver. It must first have exited the stomach, where only approximately 20% of the alcohol is absorbed, into the small intestine. The absorption rate between individuals varies so greatly that many of the most accomplished researchers agree there is no accurate method to predict blood alcohol concentration or use retrograde extrapolation to estimate past Blood Alcohol Concentrations absent a series of chemical tests.
The bottom line is drivers are severely limited in resources and ability to calculate their own blood alcohol levels while or following a pattern of drinking alcoholic beverages. Some people have utilized chemical testing by purchasing a breath alcohol device to help estimate their blood alcohol content and avoid a DUI charge or worse. Machines need to be accurate, and calibrated to be of any real benefit. People also need to check multiple times over a period of time to make sure they are not still absorbing or their blood alcohol level isn't rising when the begin to drive. This could lead to a person, under the legal limit at the time of driving, having their blood alcohol content rise while driving, thus being arrested for DUI. Another fact pattern that occurs commonly, is being under the legal limit when stopped, then the blood alcohol level increasing during the course of investigation by the officer, to a point it exceeds the legal limit when tested. While the law is clear that the .08% by weight of alcohol required to exceed the Per Se DUI law must be when driving, there is a presumption that if it is tested within 3 hours after driving and exceeds the limit, that it also exceeded the limit at the time of driving.
Some tips to help avoid exceeding the legal limit while driving a motor vehicle include:
1. Don't drink and drive; 2. purchase a quality Breath Alcohol Testing Device and utilize it; 3. Call a Taxi or other ride home after drinking; 4. carpool with a designated driver; 5. plan ahead and stick with the plan.