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What areas of the brain does alcohol affect the most?

When you choose to challenge the drunk driving charges that have been filed against you, the common answer you are likely to receive is that the numbers do not lie. If you registered a blood-alcohol content measurement above .08 on a breath test in Roanoke, that may seem to be all that is needed to prove guilt. Yet the potential inaccuracies inherent in such devices have been detailed on this blog in the past. If you are going to challenge the accuracy of a breath test, then you may need to be able to counter by showing that your actions did not reflect one who was legally drunk. 

Doing this requires knowing the different control centers of the brain and how alcohol affects them. According to The Alcohol Pharmacology Education Partnership, the major areas of the brain affected by alcohol (and the results intoxication produces) are as follows: 

  • Frontal cortex: This controls behavior, which is why alcohol can produce excitation and a loss of inhibition
  • Motor cortex: As the name implies, this coordinates movement, which results in slowed reaction times when affected by alcohol
  • Cerebellum: This area controls balance and coordination, which explains why people who intoxicated often display an unsteady gait
  • Medulla: Also known as the brainstem, this area detects toxins in the blood and sends signals to the stomach to induce vomiting, which often accompanies intoxication
  • Hippocampus: This controls memory, and is inhibited by alcohol from consolidating information, which explains why many have poor memories of being drunk

Your lack of these symptoms could indicate that your actual BAC during the time you are accused of DUI was lower than what a breathalyzer test indicated. You being able to attest to this fact (or producing others who can) could go a long way in disputing the charges against you. 

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