Relationship between blood and urine alcohol concentrations in apprehended drivers who claimed consumption of alcohol after driving with and without supporting evidence
2010 (English)In: FORENSIC SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL, ISSN 0379-0738, Vol. 194, no 1-3, 97-102 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
For various reasons, many people suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUIA) are not apprehended sitting behind the wheel, but some time after the driving. This gives them the opportunity to claim they drank alcohol after the time of driving or after they were involved in a road-traffic crash. Alleged post-offence drinking is not easy for the prosecution to disprove, which often means that the DUIA charge is dropped or the person is acquitted if the case goes to trial. The routine practice of sampling and measuring the concentration of alcohol in blood (BAC) and urine (UAC) and calculating urine/blood ratios (UAC/BAC) and the changes in UAC between two successive voids furnishes useful information to support or challenge alleged drinking after driving. We present here a retrospective case series of DUIA offenders (N = 40) in half of which there was supporting evidence of an after-drink (eye witness or police reports) and in the other half no such evidence existed apart from the suspects admission. When there was supporting evidence of an after-drink, the UAC/BAC ratio for the first void was close to or less than unity (mean 1.04, median 1.08, range 0.54-1.21) and the UAC increased by 0.21 g/L (range 0.02-0.57) between the two voids. Without any supporting evidence of post-offence drinking the mean UAC/BAC ratio was 1.46 (range 1.35-1.93) for the first void, verifying that absorption and distribution of alcohol in all body fluids and tissues was complete. In these cases, the UAC between successive voids decreased by 0.25 g/L on average (range 0.10-0.49), indicating the post-absorptive phase of the BAC curve. Long experience from investigating claims of post-offence drinking leads us to conclude that in the vast majority of cases this lacks any substance and is simply a last resort by DUIA offenders to evade justice. Unless supporting evidence exists (eye witness, police reports, etc.) of post-offence drinking the courts are encouraged to ignore this defence argument.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 194, no 1-3, 97-102 p.
Alcohol, After-drink, Blood, Drunk driving, Defence arguments, Hip-flask drink, Traffic safety, Urine
National CategoryMedical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-53935DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2009.10.021ISI: 000273985900017OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-53935DiVA: diva2:293553