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4 factors that determine blood alcohol concentration

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Posted By McAdams Law | April 28 2021 | DUI, Firm News

The ratio of alcohol to blood in your body is your blood alcohol concentration. Because it can be difficult to determine the extent of impairment due to alcohol by subjective means, law enforcement and the courts often rely heavily on BAC when making an arrest for or prosecuting DUI or DWAI. 

Once your BAC reaches a certain level, the law assumes impairment on your part. However, there are many different factors that influence the level of alcohol in your blood. 

1. Rate of consumption

Your body needs time to metabolize the alcohol you consume. Therefore, if you consume more alcohol in a shorter amount of time, your BAC will increase more quickly. 

2. Strength and size of the drink

Drinking a beverage with a high alcohol content can result in a higher BAC even if you drink a smaller amount. When the alcohol content is the same, a larger drink will result in a higher BAC. In either case, consuming more alcohol elevates the level of alcohol in your blood. 

3. Weight

How much you weigh affects how your body processes alcohol. If you are heavier, the alcohol you consume has more body fluids with which to mix. The percentage of alcohol in your blood is lower as a result. 

4. Gender

Dehydrogenase is an enzyme in your stomach that breaks down alcohol. Women produce less of this enzyme than men. Therefore, alcohol tends to have a stronger and longer-lasting effect on women, comparatively speaking. 

BAC is a convenient measure of driving impairment. However, you can still face DUI or DWAI arrest even if your BAC does not meet the established thresholds. If you demonstrate signs of impairment, such as difficulty walking or slurred speech, you may still face charges. 

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