Blood Alcohol Concentration
If you have been arrested for an DUI or OVI in Ohio, you might be confused about what blood alcohol concentration means. Early DUI laws across the nation made it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher. Through the years, that number has dropped to .08 in most parts of The United States. For drivers under 21 years of age, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .02 or higher. Essentially Ohio is a zero tolerance state for drivers younger than 21.
Ohio law currently sets the blood alcohol level for legal drinking aged drivers at .08. If you are found operating a motor vehicle – meaning you are in physical control of the vehicle, but not necessarily driving – and are arrested by an officer based on probable cause with a BAC that tests .08 or higher, you will be charged with a DUI. This is known as your per se level of intoxication. The only thing that the State must prove at trial is that you tested at or above .08 BAC in order for you to be found guilty of a DUI in Ohio.
At any given time, there are several factors that determine your blood alcohol concentration. When and what you last ate is a major factor in determining your BAC level. Alcohol can not pass into your intestines where it is absorbed into your blood stream when food closes the pyloric valve. If you drink alcohol and eat at the same time, the rate the alcohol is absorbed into your blood stream is significantly slowed down. This may give some people the misconception that the amount of alcohol they have consumed is having no effect on their ability to operate a motor vehicle.
The pyloric valve opens up and dumps the alcohol that was in your stomach to the intestines once the food you ate is processed by your body. Once the alcohol is in the intestines, it begins to absorb into your blood stream. It is this reason that some people will all of the sudden feel intoxicated some time after consuming alcohol with food, even if they stopped drinking some time before driving.
Your stomach will actually absorb some of the alcohol through your stomach lining, but that is only a small percentage. One common risk for those who do not understand how the body processes alcohol is the mistaken belief that drinking water, coffee, or any other substance will cause them to not become intoxicated. This is false. Caffeine in coffee makes you more alert, but does not reduce alcohol in the blood stream, thus can not make you sober enough to drive.
The absolute only thing that can reduce your Blood Alcohol Concentration is time. Your body must have time to process that alcohol that you consumed. Regardless of what else you do, the alcohol in your system needs time to make it through your body before being broken down and expelled through sweat or urine.
Frequent intoxication and high alcohol levels are a significant risk to your health and complications include sever organ damage, coma, and even death. The Center for Disease Control reports that approximately 85,000 people die each year from alcohol consumption (not including death by accident or other causes while intoxicated).
If you have been charged with an alcohol related crime, call Ohio DUI attorney Peter J. Binning right now for a free, confidential case evaluation. Mr. Binning is highly trained and makes it a point to stay on top of the latest developments in defending people charged with alcohol related crimes. Call right now!