BAC levels are used by law enforcement to determine whether a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired. Using either breathe, blood, or urine testing, these levels can vary between individuals who have consumed the same drinks within an identical period of time.
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Factors influencing a BAC reading include the following that should be discussed with a Minnesota DWI lawyer:
Age – Younger drivers under the age of 25 typically have a faster metabolic rate. This means that the alcohol will reach their bloodstream faster than it will with an older driver.
Weight – A larger driver has greater capacity to absorb alcohol. Thus, a larger driver’s BAC typically rises very slowly. However, it should be noted that fat does not absorb alcohol, and thus a larger driver consuming alcohol may reach a higher saturation point sooner than a smaller driver. For example, if a 160 lbs man consumes 2 drinks in one hour, they will be expected to blow a BAC of roughly .07. However, a man weighing 140 lbs. consumes the same drinks, their BAC would be .09.
Gender – Men and women’s bodies respond to alcohol differently. Typically, men absorb alcohol slower because women have less of the enzyme dehydrogenase which helps break down alcohol. For example, if a 140 lbs. man drinks two beers in one hour, his estimated BAC will be .038 However, a female of the same age and weight would have a BAC of .048.
Stomach Content- The contents of a stomach can absorb alcohol, thus increasing delaying the release into the bloodstream. The higher the caloric count within the stomach, the slower the release. A full stomach can reduce the peak alcohol level by as much as 20%.
Carbonation – Liquor mixed with carbonation speeds up the passage of alcohol from the stomach and into the small intestine. For example, vodka mixed with carbonation can be expected to be absorbed at a rate of 4.39 milligrams per 100 ml in an hour. Conversely, vodka mixed with water will be absorbed at 1.08 milligrams per 100 ml in one hour.
Genetics & Health – All alcohol is processed through the liver. This means that the effectiveness of the enzymes within an individual’s liver are a significant determiner of BAC level. A healthy individual will process alcohol more efficiently than someone with medical conditions such as Diabetes, Crohn’s, Cirrhosis, COPD, etc.