We often hear the terms “BAC,” “Blood Alcohol Content,” or “Blood Alcohol Level” when reading the news or listening to criminal defense attorneys talk on TV about DUI arrests or serious car accidents, but do what does BAC really mean? The level of alcohol in a person’s body can be measured by a blood or breath test.
Over the years, breathing measurement devices such as the Datamaster have become the most popular choice for law enforcement. A proof of .08, or eight hundredths of a gram or more by weight of alcohol per hundred milliliters of blood or eight hundredths of a gram or more by weight of alcohol per two hundred and ten liters of breath, is the typical start. threshold for a DUI offense in most jurisdictions.
The question again is what does .08 mean? To answer this question, we need to take a brief look at how alcohol is absorbed in the body. Generally, alcohol is ingested by mouth. When alcohol is ingested, some of the alcohol is absorbed through the membranes of the mouth; however, most alcohol travels down the esophagus and into the stomach. The alcohol is then absorbed in the duodenum or small intestine. Eventually, the alcohol finds its way into general circulation. When we feel the effects of alcohol, or feelings of intoxication, it is because the alcohol is circulating throughout our body and affecting our brain.
Alcohol is absorbed into the body at approximately 0.02 per drink. A “drink” is defined as one ounce of 80-proof alcohol, a 12-ounce regular beer at approximately 5 percent alcohol, or four ounces of unfortified wine. Therefore, it is not surprising that a person begins to feel the effects of alcohol sooner when drinking hard liquor than light beer.
It takes 30-60 minutes for alcohol to be fully absorbed after it has been ingested, and there are other factors that affect the rate of alcohol absorption as well, including the size of a person and whether that person is drinking on a full or empty stomach. So if an average-sized person drinks regular twelve-ounce cans of Bud Light on an empty stomach, we can estimate that if that person drinks three or four beers in an hour period, their blood alcohol level will probably be close to of .08 . Now, we must also take into account the fact that alcohol is eliminated from the body as it is absorbed. That’s why it’s often said that as long as a person stays within one or two regular drinks per hour, their blood alcohol level should stay below .08. That said, even a small amount of alcohol in his system can cause impairment and slower reflexes, and many car accident injury lawsuits occur because someone was driving while intoxicated. It is always best to avoid getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.