Can your age impact a DWI breath test reading?

On Behalf of | Jul 12, 2016 | Drunk Driving

Drivers from all walks of life, and just about any age, can face charges for driving while impaired in Minnesota. You likely know that. You also may know that a reading of .08 percent blood alcohol concentration — measured within two hours of driving — is one method that prosecutors use to prove impairment. Unfortunately, determining how many drinks will raise your individual blood alcohol level to an unlawful amount can be difficult.

BAC readings measure the percentage of alcohol in your body

Alcohol affects different people in different ways. Some people can feel tipsy after a single drink, while others seem to have a higher tolerance. But, when it comes to a blood alcohol measurement, you need to know that there can be differences in blood alcohol levels between people who have consumed the same number of drinks in the same amount of time.

It may be intuitive to expect that a person who measures 6-foot-4 inches tall and weighs, say, 250 pounds would need to consume more alcohol to reach .08 BAC than a 5-foot-4 inch tall person who weighs 120 pounds. But, there are many other factors that can influence alcohol concentration in the human body.

How your age can influence a BAC measurement

The National Institutes of Health says that your age can affect your BAC. Research suggests that as we age, our bodies retain less water than younger adults. Water in the body’s cells tends to dilute alcohol, lowering the overall concentration of alcohol in the system. Moreover, researchers say that other factors may be in play for more mature adults that can affect actual impairment over and above the BAC reading. The use of prescription medications can compound the effects of alcohol.

Public media, and even some prosecutors, often portray people accused of drinking and driving as irresponsible. An experienced DWI defense lawyer understands that many people are surprised when test results come back. Changes in the body over time, or on a given day, can impact the results for many reasons. Moreover, testing procedures themselves may be flawed — producing unreliable results.