Laws against drunk driving are effective at reducing the rate of car accidents that result in serious injury or death. Even though there are far fewer drunk drivers on the road than there were several decades ago, when these laws went into effect, drunk driving still poses a danger to everyone in Louisiana, including drivers, passengers in cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians. From the perspective of criminal law, the only way to be sure that a person’s actions fit the definition of drunk driving is to test the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). If the test shows that the driver’s BAC exceeds the legal limit, which is 0.08%, then charges of driving while intoxicated (DWI) apply. Of course, not everyone who causes a car accident while under the influence of alcohol gets criminal charges. A Houma car accident lawyer can help you if you have been injured by a drunk driver.
Different Devices That Monitor Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of Louisiana Drivers
There are several legally recognized ways of measuring a person’s blood alcohol content. Some of them directly measure the concentration of alcohol in the blood, while others measure the concentration of alcohol metabolites in other bodily fluids:
- Blood samples – After a drunk driving traffic stop or after an accident in which police suspect that alcohol was involved, they might take a blood sample. If the driver was injured, then doctors might also measure the driver’s BAC with a blood test at the hospital.
- Breath samples – Breathalyzers come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all work the same way, namely by detecting alcohol metabolites in the driver’s exhaled breath. The breathalyzers that police use at traffic stops consist of a handheld device with a tube to blow into. An ignition interlock device, which courts sometimes order drivers to use after a drunk driving conviction, works the same way, except that they are attached to the car’s ignition system. Some cars even have breathalyzers built in, so that the car can measure alcohol metabolites in the air near the driver’s seat and refuse to start if the driver has been drinking.
- SCRAM devices – SCRAM stands for secure continuous remote alcohol monitoring. Courts sometimes order people to wear SCRAM devices for several weeks or several months after a drunk driving conviction. The device is worn around the wrist or ankle and measures alcohol metabolites in the sweat. It records a reading every hour, so it can tell when the person consumed alcohol.
Even if the driver did not get criminal charges, you have the right to file a civil lawsuit arising from a drunk driving accident, and all of the above methods of measuring BAC can be valuable evidence in your personal injury case.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick H. Yancey About Car Accidents
A car accident lawyer can help you recover your accident-related financial losses after an alcohol-related car accident. Contact the Law Office of Patrick H. Yancey in Houma, Louisiana to set up a consultation about your case.