Blood Alcohol Levels

So much of your case depends on your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, but you may be confused about what the number really means. BAC, in layman’s terms, simply refers to the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream. When the first DUI laws were being established, the legal limit was .15, but that number has changed to nearly half of what it was. Today, the legal limit in Ohio is .08.

This means that if an officer has reasonable suspicion and probable cause to pull you over and your BAC is .08 or higher, you will be arrested with a DUI. What many people don’t know is that you don’t even have to be driving to receive a DUI, just “in control” of the vehicle. If you are merely sitting in the front seat with the keys in your hand, this is usually considered to be “in control.” Many states have a harsher, “zero tolerance” policy for drivers under the age of 21. These drivers will receive a DUI charge if any amount of alcohol is found in their systems.

There are multiple factors that contribute to your BAC when you are drinking, but one of the main ones is the time you last ate. The act of eating closes your stomach’s pyloric valve, keeping the alcohol in your stomach from entering your intestines where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Only a very small amount of alcohol enters your system through your stomach lining.

Once you stop eating, that pyloric valve reopens and dumps all the alcohol into your intestines and you start to feel the affects of the drinks that you had earlier. Eating only holds off this reaction; it does not prevent you from getting drunk. It is this delayed pyloric valve that causes people to suddenly become tipsy an hour or so after a large meal, even if it has been a while since their last drink.

Another misconception is that drinking water or some form of caffeine will prevent you from getting drunk. Once alcohol has entered your system, it cannot be “removed” by the introduction of water or even a strong cup of coffee. Caffeine may make you feel more alert, but it will not rid your body of the alcohol.

The only way to reduce your BAC is to wait. Your body has its own natural processes for breaking down the alcohol you consume and excreting it through your urine or sweat. Whatever methods you may use in your attempt to “sober up,” these processes take time.

It is important to take your BAC levels seriously, as high concentrations of alcohol in your blood can result in severe organ damage, coma, or even death. The CDC has estimated that alcohol poisoning kills 85,000 people every year. This number doesn’t even include the accidental deaths that occur when someone is intoxicated.

We hope this information about BAC has been helpful. If you have been arrested with an Ohio DUI, call Columbus DUI lawyer Peter Binning today for a free consultation.