UF expert: After drinking, blood-alcohol level drops by .015% per hour


Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 2:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 2:13 p.m.

A University of Florida expert on DUI cases says that if a driver were to register a .061 or .069 blood-alcohol level on a breath test four hours after an accident -- as Mayor Craig Lowe did -- that person most certainly would have posted a level higher than the legal limit at the time of the wreck.

"In a hypothetical situation, not Mayor Lowe's, if four hours passed, it's a certainty that the level would have been higher at a time previous," said Paul L. Doering, a professor emeritus in the Department of Pharmacotherapy and Translational Research at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy. Doering is also co-director of the statewide Drug Information and Pharmacy Resource Center.

Doering, who has served as an expert in DUI trials, said he did not want to comment on the specifics of Lowe's arrest but did say that, on average, for every hour that passes from the time a person stops drinking, the blood-alcohol level drops by .015 percent.

Multiplying that figure by the approximately four hours between the time of the mayor's crash and the time of the blood-alcohol test he took at the jail, Lowe would have had an approximate blood-alcohol level of .129 or .121 at the time of the crash, well above the .08 legal limit.

"Other factors might come into play like what a person ate or when they ate, but there's no doubt in my mind that the level was higher four hours previous," Doering said.

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