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What is blood alcohol concentration?

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2023 | DWI

When the police notice a driver exhibiting drunk driving signs, such as swerving, sudden acceleration and deceleration or tailgating, they will stop them to conduct a breathalyzer test to measure their blood alcohol content or concentration (BAC) level.  

In New York, a BAC of 0.05% shows a driver is impaired, 0.08% or more shows intoxication and 0.18% or higher is evidence of aggravated driving while intoxicated. 

Here is what you need to know about BAC:

Alcohol in a person’s bloodstream

BAC is the amount of alcohol in grams per 100 ml of blood. Hence, a BAC of 0.08% means one has 0.08 g of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. 

Factors that determine the BAC

Several factors determine one’s BAC level. Of course, the number of drinks is the first factor. Someone who drank a couple of drinks will have a high BAC level.

However, two people who drank the same number of drinks can have different BAC results. This is due to aspects, such as: 

  • Gender 
  • Age 
  • Food

Males have lower fat levels than females, which means their bodies have a high percentage of water. As a result, they can absorb more alcohol from the blood. In addition, men have highly active forms of alcohol dehydrogenase (the enzyme that metabolizes alcohol). Due to these factors, a man can have a lower BAC level after the same number of drinks as a woman.

Further, the level of fat increases and water decreases as people age. Therefore, an older person may have a higher BAC level after drinking the same amount as someone younger. Eating can also slow the processing of alcohol. Someone who has not eaten can hit a high BAC after a few hours of drinking. 

If your BAC level is above the legal limit, you could get legal guidance to defend yourself and, in turn, protect your record.

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