I just received from California DMV mail – as a registered owner of a vehicle – including this “DUI” form which contains a purported Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) estimate Table.
This Article discusses the Truths and Falsities of this DMV propaganda.
This DMV DL 606 form (revised 8/2011) states in italics, beginning at the top:
“Get a DUI – Lose Your License!”
- If you end up getting a DUI conviction, California DMV will order a suspension of one’s California driving privilege.
- If your California driver’s license was taken or you were given a pink “AGE 21 AND OLDER ADMINISTRATIVE PER SE SUSPENSION/REVOCATION ORDER AND TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE” [DMV DS 367 – PAGE 3] and you did not hire an attorney to contest this action within 10 days of your DUI arrest or you hired a lawyer but did not successfully prevail in obtaining a negative finding on the issues in order to receive a DMV Order of Set Aside at the DMV administrative hearing of this action.
- A DUI arrest does not automatically mean you will lose your license. It merely starts a pink paper trail which may or may not result in a suspension. Know your rights and defenses; find out how.
- If you are convicted in court of a reduced charge, DMV may not suspend your license.
- This DMV warning fails to address possible Driver License Restriction or Early Reinstatement options after any suspension.
“It is illegal to drive with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08% or more (.04% for commercial drivers and .01% if under 21). Other factors, such as fatigue, medications or food may affect your ability to legally operate a driver. The table below gives an estimate of blood alcohol levels based on the number of drinks consumed, gender and body weight. REMEMBER: Even one drink is likely to affect your ability to drive safely.”
This form continues with a chart called a “Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Table for Male / Female drivers based on one’s weight and Number of Drinks, with Driving Conditions ranging from “Only Safe Driving Limit” (for 0 drinks) to “Driving Skills Impaired” (for 1 drink) to “Legally Intoxicated” (for 2 to 5 drinks).”
The bottom of the form’s table numerous – rather limited – assumptions:
“Subtract .01% for each 40 minutes of drinking.
1 drink = 1.5 oz. 80 proof liquor, 12 oz. 5% beer, or 5 oz. 12% wine.
Fewer than 5 persons out of 100 will exceed these values.”
- This correctly states the respective California BAC limits at time of driving.
- Other factors may affect your ability to legally drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person.
- One can be charged with DUI if BAC is less than .08%.
- “One drink” might “affect your ability to drive safely,” depending on the facts, especially if you get in an accident, for example.
- The table’s “estimates” are merely vague estimates based on incomplete information and assumptions of a number of speculative facts (below).
- The table does not specify actual consumption of true amounts of alcohol over the passage of time.
- The table does not specify Beginning and Ending times of alcohol consumption, essential basics to any BAC calculation. (DMV previously had a similar Table that attempted to do so.)
- The table does not specify one’s BAC at any given time. (DMV previously had a similar Table that did so.)
- The table does not specify varying BAC calculations, including the million dollar question – at what point a driver lawfully at .07% becomes unlawful at .08%.
- The table misrepresents the .08% per se DUI law in California by lining up “Number of Drinks” with the final column entitled “Driving Conditions” : A. “Only Safe Driving Limit” for 0 drinks. B. Driving Skills Impaired” for 1 drink; and C. “Legally Intoxicated” for 2 to 5 drinks. There is no peer-reviewed scientific study supporting these illogical conclusions.
- The table assumes far too many facts needed to make a proper calculation of one’s true BAC at time of driving.
In challenging the accuracy or reliability of these conclusions based on estimates, the DMV author of this incomplete table could be asked:
Did you assume an average size drink when you state “1 drink = 1.5 oz. 80 proof liquor, 12 oz. 5% beer, or 5 oz. 12% wine?”
Did you assume an average human absorption amount?
Did you assume an average human absorption time?
Did you assume an average human burn-off rate when you state “Subtract .01% for each 40 minutes of drinking?”
Where does your Table state a true BAC or blood alcohol level at time of driving?
Is it true there is established science correlating levels of impairment to blood alcohol levels?
Is it true there is no such similar science correlating levels of impairment to breath alcohol levels (especially on San Diego California DUI breath machines that do not have the ability to distinguish mouth alcohol from deep lung alcohol)?
Is it true you had to therefore assume an average conversion rate between the amount of alcohol contained in venous blood and the corresponding amount of alcohol that should theoretically be contained in a deep lung sample of breath?
So, the assumption for average drink size has a range?
So, the assumption for average absorption rate has a range?
So, the assumption for average burn off rate has a range?
So, the assumption for average absorption time has a range?
If your assumption for the drink size were to change value, your estimate would change.
If your assumption for average absorption rate were to change value, your estimate would change.
If your assumption for average burn off rate were to change value, your estimate would change.
If your assumption for average absorption time were to change value, your estimate would change.
If your assumption as to the conversion rate were to change value, that would also change your estimate.
Of all the assumptions you made, the most highly-changing or volatile assumption is the conversion rate.
The conversion rate changes between the amount of alcohol contained in venous blood and the corresponding amount of alcohol that is contained in a deep lung sample of breath.
This means any DUI breath machine BAC reading must have a possible range of actual blood alcohol level results.
Assuming through incomplete “estimates” does not necessarily amount to proof of true BAC at time of driving.
As the above critique demonstrates, premier San Diego DUI defense lawyer can show why it is not a good idea to “ASS-U-ME” when trying to determine one’s true BAC at time of driving.
The form is propaganda. The chart provides no practical or legal use to any driver. It’s a scare tactic.
It is perfectly legal to drive after one drink and more as long as your BAC does not reach .08% BAC at time of driving and you are able to drive with the caution characteristic of a sober person.