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How the Widmark Formula is Used to Determine Blood Alcohol Content Levels in Men & Women

Thumbnail image for Widmark Formula If you are arrested for drunk driving, a police officer will use a variety of investigative tools to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) level in order to obtain probable cause to formally charge you with drunk driving. Men and women BAC levels differ greatly based on several factors. In particular, the Widmark formula is used to address the different BAC levels between genders in order to obtain accurate results.

Read on to learn more about the Widmark formula and how it is used by law enforcement officials.

Widmark Formula

Swedish scientist Erik M.P. Widmark determined how to calculate a person's BAC by analyzing factors such as gender, weight, and the amount of alcohol consumed. A person's BAC level is expressed by a percentage that references the concentration of alcohol within the bloodstream. Calculations using Widmark's formula can be used to illustrate the BAC for a given person based on a specific amount of consumed alcohol.


Here is a table that is often used by researchers to illustrate a person's BAC after consuming alcohol.  


How Police Officers Determine Drunk Driver's BAC

In order to formally charge you with drunk driving, a police officer will have to determine your BAC. This is due to the fact that an essential aspect of Michigan's DUI law pertains to a person's BAC. Note, you can still be charged for drunk driving despite the police not being able to accurately obtain your BAC level. Police officers use several tools to determine BAC:

1. Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests results can be used to determine a person's BAC level. For example, under each test, certain factors are considered by the police officer to help determine a person's BAC if he/she fails certain aspects of the test. If a person is unable to keep their balance or walk in a straight line, it may suggest that their BAC is .08% or greater.

2. Preliminary Breathalyzer Test

The Alco-Sensor III is used to measure BAC. It is primarily used to measure a person's BAC during a roadside investigation.

3. Chemical Test

Blood, urine, and breath (DataMaster test) samples are performed at the police station to determine a person's BAC.

If you have been charged with drunk driving in Ypsilanti and would like to obtain a drunk driving defense attorney to represent you, contact me for a case consultation. I provide criminal defense to individuals charged with operating under the influence of alcohol or visibly impaired throughout Washtenaw County. Call 734-274-6567 to schedule an appointment.



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