What Factors Affect How Quickly a Driver's BAC Level Rises?

How quickly a person’s BAC level rises after drinking alcohol depends on a number of different factors, such as their weight and gender.

When a person in Maryland consumes an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol is absorbed into the wall of the small intestine and then travels throughout the rest of the body by way of the blood. When this occurs, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that the person's blood alcohol content level is the weight of the alcohol in comparison to a certain volume of blood. If the BAC level is above the legal limit and the person decides to operate a vehicle, the person may face charges for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Influences that cause BAC levels to rise

How quickly a person's BAC level rises after consuming an alcoholic beverage is impacted by several different factors. According to the NHTSA, these include the following:

  • Weight-the more a person weighs, the more water there is in their body to absorb the alcohol. Due to this, a person who weighs less will have a higher BAC level than someone who weighs more.
  • Gender- since they generally have more fat per pound in their bodies, alcohol remains in the blood of women more easily than men, causing their BAC levels to rise quickly.
  • The amount of food in the person's stomach-the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream can be slowed if the person has had something to eat.
  • How quickly the alcohol was consumed-the faster a person drinks alcohol, the faster their BAC level will rise.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the type of alcohol consumed does not affect a person's BAC level. The NHTSA states that one shot of distilled spirits, one 12-ounce beer and one 5-ounce glass of wine all contain approximately half an ounce of alcohol.

The consequences of drinking and driving

Because there are so many factors that affect how quickly a person's BAC level rises, drivers may not know whether or not they have exceeded the legal limit. However, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation, any person who is caught driving with a BAC level at or above 0.08 will be charged with DUI.

The DOT states that the consequences a drunk driver faces for this charge depend on the number of DUI convictions on their record. For example, a person who has one prior DUI offense and gets arrested for drinking and driving for the second time may be required to pay a fine of up to $2,000 and spend up to two years in jail.

Drunk driving charges have the potential to harm a person financially and the person's reputation within the local community. If you were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, consult with an attorney in your area who can help you understand your legal rights.

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