The intoxicating element in beer, wine, and liquor is alcohol (ethyl alcohol or ethanol). The quantity of alcohol in your blood is identified as your blood alcohol content (BAC). When you drink an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol is quickly absorbed by your stomach and small intestines and enters your blood system. Because alcohol is a toxin, your liver converts it quickly to take it out of your blood.
Your liver can generally process one alcoholic drink every hour. If you consume alcohol faster than your liver can handle, your BAC rises, and you may experience the effects of intoxication, also known as drunkenness.
A typical alcoholic beverage is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor. However, the alcohol amount in various beers and wines can vary. Drunk driving in Pennsylvania is a serious offense.
According to DUI lawyers at Giribaldi & Manaras, P.C., the state has set 0.8% BAC as the legal limit for DUI driving. However, authorities can convict you for less. Speak with DUI lawyers to learn more. Let’s see what influences blood alcohol levels and how it works.
There are several factors that influence BAC levels, including:
When two people consume the same quantity of alcohol, the heavier person usually has a reduced blood alcohol level.
Men generally digest alcohol quicker than women because of distinctions in body mass. According to research, women have lower amounts of the enzymes needed to digest alcohol.
Drugs and alcohol can have unpredictable interactions. For example, Tylenol can harm your liver when combined with alcohol.
- Drinking speed
When drinking, "gulping down" substantially raises the effect of intoxication. The more alcohol you consume in a short time, the more likely your body will be unable to digest it and would rather shut down. To keep control of your intoxication, drink gradually.
- Food and the quantity or quality of standard drinks
If you know you'll be drinking, prepare a high-protein meal ahead of time. Drinking on an empty stomach irritates digestion, causing increased alcohol assimilation and intoxication.
A typical drink contains 14 g (0.6 oz) of pure alcohol. This much alcohol is typically found in:
- 12 oz. beer (5% alcohol content)
- 8 ounces malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
- 5 oz. wine (12% alcohol content)
- 1.5 ounces or one shot of 80-proof (40% alcohol) liquor or distilled spirits (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).
There are several methods to measure someone’s BAC levels, including:
Most frequently used by police officers on DWI suspects (driving while intoxicated). The breathalyzer measures the level of alcohol in an individual's breath and provides fast results - but it has constraints. While most people are familiar with breathalyzers, they aren't the most accurate indicator of BAC rates.
Blood alcohol test
If you are suspected of drunk driving, deny a breathalyzer test, or believe the outcomes are misleading, you could demand a blood alcohol exam. A blood alcohol check is the most precise way to determine one's blood alcohol levels.
A qualified doctor will collect a blood sample from a vein in your arm throughout this simple test. This test is precise within 6-12 hours. Depending on the laboratory that handles the test, your report could provide test information in various formats.
The results are usually reported as a percentage of blood alcohol content (BAC), such as 0.03% BAC. They can also be expressed in grams per milliliter (g/mL). This test would generate a result of 0.03 g/100 mL.
The results could also reveal "positive" or "negative," indicating that you had alcohol in your blood or that you did not have alcohol in your blood.
When you drink, and the alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, it moves across the body and to the brain, impacting many cognitive processes and physical performance. Driving skills can be defective long before reaching the legal limit, but at 0.08, the risk of a vehicle collision skyrockets.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration outlines the following effects of blood alcohol concentration on driving:
- 0.02 BAC: You will most likely feel relaxed and lose some judgment. You can't keep up with the motions of other cars, crosswalks, or animals. You lose some of your multitasking capacity, making you more prone to distraction.
- 0.05 BAC: You begin to lose control, such as your capacity to concentrate your eyes, and you may experience decreased vigilance. Your steering ability has deteriorated. You're even worse at tracking motion information. You are more likely to respond poorly in an urgent situation, such as using the brakes fast or changing direction around an unforeseen obstacle.
- 0.10 BAC: Your skills will deteriorate even more at this level. It won't be easy to keep a lane stance and brake when necessary.
- 0.15 BAC: You'll have poor muscle control and coordination. You will have significant difficulties controlling your car and focusing on what is happening around you. You're going to puke.
If you intend to drive, it is best not to drink. If you do drink, restrict your intake, spread your beverages out over a more significant amount of time, and consume a lot of water. Less than two drinks per day for men, while one or fewer for women is considered "moderate" alcohol consumption.
There are numerous simple weight/gender charts available to estimate BAC levels. A 120-pound woman, for instance, can achieve a 0.08 BAC level after only two cups in one hour. After four drinks, a 180-pound man can be at 0.08. A "drink" is defined as one shot of liquor, one glass of wine, or one beer.