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Factors That Can Affect Your Blood Alcohol Content

Korey Leslie, Attorney-At-Law, LLC July 14, 2023

Driver test for alcohol content with use of breathalyzerEnjoying alcoholic beverages is one of the most common ways for people to unwind, celebrate, and spend time with friends. Drinking too much alcohol and attempting to operate a vehicle, however, is a serious mistake that can lead to severe consequences. Knowing how your body handles alcohol and the other factors that impact your blood alcohol content is important when you want to enjoy alcoholic drinks while still making wise decisions. 

At Korey Leslie, Attorney-At-Law, LLC, we understand the stress that can come along with a DUI charge, which is why we want to educate people about their blood alcohol content and the different factors that affect it. If you have been charged with a DUI in the York, Pennsylvania, area, including the surrounding communities of Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Camp Hill, get in touch with our team to schedule a consultation. 

Understanding Blood Alcohol Content 

Drunk driving laws across the country are built upon the measurement known as blood alcohol content. When an individual drinks alcohol, that alcohol enters their bloodstream. As the person ingests more alcohol, more alcohol begins to build up in their system. At a certain point, the alcohol in their blood begins to affect the individual’s body in a variety of ways, including impaired judgment and slower reflexes. This alcohol remains in the person’s bloodstream until the body successfully metabolizes it. 

Intoxication Levels and Pennsylvania Law 

Legally allowable blood alcohol content (BAC) levels vary somewhat from state to state, but under Pennsylvania law, a blood alcohol content level of .08% or higher is the threshold for being charged with a DUI. The allowable BAC level for commercial drivers is .04%. For bus drivers or any drivers under 21 years of age, the legal limit is .02%. 

Factors That Can Impact Your Blood Alcohol Level

Intoxication levels can be different for each person, depending upon a variety of different factors. Knowing more about these factors and how they relate to you and your body can be helpful when considering how much you are able to drink without running the risk of crossing the legal limit and endangering yourself and others on the road by attempting to drive. Some of the common factors that determine your blood alcohol content include: 

  • Weight/Height — The physical size of your body can be a major factor in determining the amount of alcohol you can consume before becoming impaired. Larger people generally have to drink more in order to be intoxicated. 

  • Gender — Women become intoxicated more quickly and end up with a higher BAC level than men, despite ingesting the same amount of alcohol. 

  • Rate of Consumption — Drinking a specific amount of alcohol over a longer period of time will allow your body to metabolize it more efficiently than if you drink the same amount in a short time. Drinking slowly can make a significant difference in your level of intoxication. 

  • Medications — Certain medications react differently when combined with drinking alcohol. Consult your doctor to learn more about how your medications can impact your blood alcohol content level when drinking. 

  • Food Intake — Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach causes the alcohol to be absorbed into your body at a more concentrated level. If you are eating as you’re drinking, the food intake can slow the accumulation of alcohol in your blood. 

  • Health Disorders — Some physical ailments (such as acid reflux and diabetes) can actually cause your blood alcohol content to register higher than individuals who do not suffer from such conditions. 

  • Alcohol Tolerance — Some people can simply handle more alcohol in their system than others. The frequency and amount of alcohol someone ingests can, over time, build up their tolerance for alcohol, leading to their body requiring greater amounts of alcohol to cause them to become impaired. 

The list above is not exhaustive; it’s just a few examples of how different factors can contribute to your blood alcohol level rising quickly or taking longer than other people. 

We Stand By Our Clients

A DUI conviction can have far-reaching consequences in all aspects of your life—personally and professionally. Losing your driving privileges and suffering other penalties related to a drunk driving offense can leave you in a bad position for a significant amount of time.  

If you are facing a DUI charge, you need dedicated legal representation to protect your rights and help you pursue the most favorable outcome available to you. Reach out to us at Korey Leslie, Attorney-At-Law, LLC today to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We proudly serve clients throughout Camp Hill, Lancaster, Harrisburg, and the York, Pennsylvania, area.