Blood alcohol concentration is the concentration of alcohol in the blood. Measuring the amount of alcohol in the body involves calculating the weight of the alcohol in a specific blood volume. Generally, the more alcohol consumed, the higher the BAC will be. Anyone who drinks alcohol should consider BAC to ensure that their drinking remains safe and that law infractions do not occur.
- Understanding Blood Alcohol Content
- Calculating the BAC
- Blood Alcohol Concentration (PDF)
- Blood Alcohol Concentration and the Effects of Alcohol
Understanding Blood Alcohol Content
Blood alcohol concentration is a physiological process that occurs in the body with the consumption of alcohol. People consuming alcohol can also use BAC to monitor their condition while drinking. Having a BAC up to 0.03 percent generally produces feelings of mild relaxation and a slight loosening of inhibitions. Between 0.04 and 0.06 percent, warmth and relaxation set in. Shyness disappears, and emotions are usually intensified. In the 0.08 to 0.09 percent range, slurring of speech occurs, and balance and motor skills begin to be impaired. Continuing to drink past this stage usually results in marked impairment and feelings of euphoria. Additional drinking will lead to severe problems talking and walking, and judgment is impaired. BAC at this stage would be roughly 0.14 to 0.17 percent. At levels of about 0.2 percent, extreme disorientation and confusion occur, and drinkers usually experience blackouts. Continuing to drink past this stage can be extremely risky with a high likelihood of injury from accidents or from the effects of the alcohol on the brain and nerve centers.
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Amount of Alcohol Content/Absorption Rate
Although blood alcohol concentration is directly related to the amount of alcohol consumed, there are other factors that will determine actual BAC and the overall absorption rate. Someone who weighs less or who has more fat will usually have a higher BAC in relation to the number of drinks consumed. The amount of water in the body and blood also affects the metabolism rate of alcohol. Women often have higher blood alcohol concentrations than men due to higher fat percentages as well as a lower level of alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes, which work to break down alcohol in the stomach. People who drink regularly may develop a higher functional tolerance to alcohol, which means that they may not quickly show signs of impairment. However, even someone who does not show symptoms of physical impairment will still have alcohol in the bloodstream that produces a blood alcohol concentration.
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BAC Facts and Statistics
Brian Joslyn, an experienced criminal attorney Dayton confirmed that alcohol absorbs quickly into the bloodstream, generally between 30 and 70 minutes after consuming a drink. Once in the stomach, alcohol absorbs through the stomach and small intestine walls, where it enters the bloodstream to travel throughout the body. All types of alcohol affect BAC similarly: Five ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or one shot of 80-proof distilled alcohol will have the same impact on BAC. States set BAC limits for drivers, with all states adopting a BAC of 0.08 percent as the legal definition of intoxication. Someone with a 0.08 percent BAC has 8/10 of a milliliter of alcohol in their system for every 1,000 milliliters of blood.
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A number of BAC calculators exist to help people estimate their BAC levels. Some online calculators allow you to enter your weight, gender, metabolic rate, the elapsed time of alcohol consumption, the type of alcohol consumed with the percent of alcohol, and the number of servings. Based on this data, the calculator will return an estimation of BAC. However, it's important to remember that this is an estimation only. The actual BAC may be higher or lower, depending on factors such as recent meals eaten, hydration status, kidney function, body composition, and more. Purchasing a Breathalyzer can be a more accurate way to estimate BAC. However, Breathalyzers may also be faulty. For full law compliance and safety, never operate a vehicle or other machinery after consuming alcohol. Sometimes alcohol results in sexual assault crimes. In these cases you will need to refer to a sex crime lawyer for assistance.
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