drinking and driving

4 Factors That Affect Your BAC Level

Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or more can result in serious penalties. Blood alcohol concentration levels measure the percentage of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream.

Studies show that a person’s liver can typically process about one standard drink an hour. A standard drink contains 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol.

However, a person’s BAC level isn’t only affected by the amount of alcohol a person consumes. Our Phoenix DUI defense lawyers explain what other factors can affect your BAC level.

Major Factors That Can Impact Your BAC Level

To avoid going over the legal BAC limit, many people count drinks to guess their BAC level. However, it’s important to understand all the variables that can affect your blood alcohol concentration.

Below are the most common factors that affect your BAC level:

  1. Body Weight: The less you weigh, the less water you have in your body to dilute the intoxicating effects created when you drink alcohol. Similarly, muscle tissue also contains more water than fat which further helps with dilution. This means a person who weighs less will feel more intoxicated by two alcohol drinks than an individual with a higher body weight.
  2. Gender: Men and women have different muscle and body fat percentages, which also impacts BAC levels. Women also tend to have less dehydrogenase (an enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the stomach) than men, so a man can have a lower BAC level than a woman, even if they’ve had the same amount of alcohol and weigh the same.
  3. Amount of Food in Stomach: Consuming alcohol on an empty stomach can result in a higher BAC level because food helps to slow down the amount of alcohol absorbed in your bloodstream. Drinking on an empty stomach means alcohol is absorbed faster, which causes intoxication much quicker than if you drink on a full stomach.
  4. Medications: Research shows that cough medicines, antidepressants, and other medications can amplify how your body reacts to alcohol. When mixing alcohol with certain medication, your BAC can often end up being higher than it normally would.

Other Factors That Affect BAC

There are additional factors that can impact how intoxicated you can become and what your BAC level will be:

  • Your alcohol tolerance level, such as how efficient your liver is at metabolizing alcohol.
  • How quickly you drink, and if your body is able to keep up with the pace of your drinking.
  • Type of alcohol you consume, because carbonated drinks such as sparkling wine or champagne can increase your alcohol absorpion, while drinks with fruit juice mixed in can slow alcohol absorption.

Facing a DUI Charge?

If you tested a BAC level above the legal limit, there are still ways to fight your charges. Contact our attorneys for help challenging the charges and minimizing the negative effects a DUI charge can have on your future. 

If you face DUI charges because your BAC level was .08 percent or higher, contact our team at Suzuki Law Offices, L.L.C. as soon as possible. Our Phoenix DUI defense lawyers can help you get your charges reduced or even dismissed. Call us today at (602) 842-6762!

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