Your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is the number that the police often use when determining if you were impaired by alcohol. You can be impaired below the legal limit of 0.08%, but hitting that limit means that they can assume you were impaired even without any other evidence.
People often believe they’re less intoxicated than they really are – and that means you could be over the legal blood alcohol limit without realizing it. There are a lot of factors that determine just how high your BAC can get.
First and foremost, women who drink tend to be impacted by it more quickly than men. This could mean that a woman who is drinking the same amount as a man could be over the legal limit when he is not.
Those who have a lower bodyweight tend to get intoxicated more quickly, and their BAC climbs faster. If you weigh 120 pounds and you were out drinking with people who weigh over 200 pounds, you may find yourself far more intoxicated even though you had the same amount of alcohol.
The type of alcohol you drink
Don’t assume that all drinks are equal, as there are very different amounts of alcohol in different beverages. For instance, your standard whiskey is going to be about 40% alcohol, while a standard beer is only 5% alcohol. If you choose to drink wine, it tends to be about 11 to 13% alcohol.
How quickly you consume those drinks
Simply put, drinking faster gets you more intoxicated and raises your BAC further. If you had four drinks in an hour, you would be much more intoxicated than if you had four drinks over four hours.
In any case, if you do wind up with a higher BAC than you thought and you’re facing DUI charges, make sure you know what legal options you have for your defense.