Understanding blood alcohol content

A person needs to consider how blood alcohol content is determined and how it affects intoxication in order to better understand BAC.

Drunk driving has a major impact on Minnesota roads. According to the Office of Traffic Safety, the state handed out an average of 69 driving while intoxicated citations per day, which amounts to 25,027 DWIs for a single year. The average person arrested for a DWI had blood alcohol content of 0.16 grams per deciliter. Learning more about BAC can make it easier to avoid driving under the influence.

Determining BAC

There are a few factors that affect a person's BAC, such as gender, rate of consumption, amount of consumption and weight. This means two women may drink the same amount of alcohol in the same amount of time, yet they could have a different BAC based on their weights. Other outside factors, including the use of other substances, the amount of food consumed, the type of drink and the amount of water consumed, can also play a role in a person's BAC.

Because so many factors affect BAC, it can be hard for a person to accurately judge whether or not it is okay to get behind the wheel. Even counting drinks cannot necessarily give an accurate understanding of a person's BAC because the type of drink changes BAC levels. Alcohol mixed with a juice may result in a lower BAC than alcohol mixed with an energy drink.

Looking at effects of BAC

Because a person may not be able to figure out what his or her BAC is based on how many drinks were consumed, it is important for each person to understand the effects of BAC. The different levels of alcohol in a person's system can have certain consequences, including the following:

  • BAC between 0.14 and 0.19 results in feelings of euphoria mixed with restlessness, drowsiness and anxiety. A person may struggle to stand or walk due to major motor skill impairment.
  • BAC between 0.01 and 0.07 results in loosened inhibitions and mild relaxation. Emotions may become intensified, which can affect a person's ability to judge a situation.
  • BAC between 0.08 and 0.13 results in exaggerated emotions, compromised balance and impaired motor skills. A person may less affected than he or she really is.
  • BAC between 0.20 and 0.24 results in disorientation, nausea and confusion. A person may be unable to stand or feel accurate levels of pain.

The higher a person's BAC gets the less he or she should be behind the wheel.

No matter how much a Minnesota resident has had to drink, if his or her BAC is at or above a 0.08, it is possible for the person to get a DWI. If someone does get pulled over for driving while drunk, it can be beneficial to work with an attorney who is familiar with this type of case.