Backyard barbecues, picnics at the lake and tailgating are popular activities during North Carolina’s warm weather months. Alcoholic beverages are often on-hand, which makes driving afterward a dangerous proposition. Anyone with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more exceeds the legal limit and may get charged with drunk driving. 

When an officer pulls you over because he or she suspects you of operating while intoxicated, they may request that you take a breath test. According to CMI Inc, these tests analyze the alcohol concentration in a sample of your breath. It is proportional to the amount in the blood. Although the process seems simple, several factors can contribute to inaccurate results. 

Weight and body type are significant elements when determining intoxication levels. Individuals with low levels of body fat will have lower BAC levels as the body absorbs it. Fatty tissue does not absorb the alcohol. Therefore, it stays in the blood longer in people with higher levels of body fat. 

Gender also affects the body’s ability to process alcohol. Women tend to have a higher percentage of body fat than men and lower amounts of dehydrogenase, a stomach enzyme that breaks down the alcohol. Hormone levels may also affect how effectively the body processes alcohol. 

Food and drink mixers also affect BAC levels. Drinking on an empty stomach and using soda or other carbonated beverages can increase the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. The faster your body absorbs the liquor, and the stronger the drink, the quicker your BAC rises. 

Law enforcement uses breath tests as probable cause and arrests most drivers who fail the test on the spot. However, there are several ways in which to mount a defense against drunk driving charges. Depending on the circumstances, you may get the charges reduced or dismissed.