What is blood alcohol concentration?
Blood alcohol concentration or BAC is a measurement of how much alcohol is in your bloodstream. Legal limits for consuming alcohol are set using BAC and a DWI lawyer needs to know these calculations in the event of a DWI. If you think you might be over the limit, don’t drive.
What affects BAC?
Many factors affect your BAC.
How quickly you drink: The faster you drink, the faster your BAC will rise, and your level of intoxication will rise with it. If you drink more than approximately one drink per hour, your liver will be unable to keep up with how much alcohol you’re drinking, and the alcohol will remain in your bloodstream until your liver can metabolize it. More alcohol in your blood means a higher BAC.
Your body type: Since fat tissue doesn’t contain as much water as muscle tissue, more muscular bodies can handle more alcohol without causing BAC to rise.
How full you are: If you eat more, especially fatty foods, your BAC won’t rise as much as if you had an empty stomach.
Type of alcohol: Since the alcohol in beer is more diluted than in a shot, it won’t cause your BAC to rise as quickly as a shot would.
Type of mix: Water and juice slow down alcohol absorption, while carbonated drinks speed it up.
Medication: Certain medications can affect how alcohol affects you, including aspirin, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, tranquilizers, and cough medicine.
How long does it take for BAC to go down?
Your BAC will go down an average of 0.015 per hour, which is approximately one drink per hour.
How can I calculate my BAC?
There are personal breathalyzer devices that can tell you your BAC. There are also a bunch of apps that attempt to calculate your BAC based on factors such as your gender, body weight, and the number of drinks you’ve consumed. However, these calculations may not be accurate.
What is a standard drink?
One standard drink varies depending on what you’re drinking:
- 12 ounces (one can or bottle) of 5% beer
- 5 ounces of 12% wine
- 8 ounces of 7% malt liquor
- 1.5 ounces (one shot) of 40% liquor
What are the signs of having a certain BAC?
You might show signs in your behavior that could give you a clue about your BAC:
0.040-0.059%: Relaxed, lowered inhibitions, increased feelings of well-being, warm feelings, slight impaired judgment, euphoria.
0.060-0.099%: Minor impairment of speech, balance, vision, hearing, and reaction time, euphoria, reduced self-control, and judgment, impaired memory, and reasoning.
0.100-0.129%: Significantly impaired coordination, balance, vision, hearing, reaction time, and judgment. Slurred speech.
South Dakota Legal Limits
In South Dakota, you can be convicted of a DUI if you have a BAC of 0.08% or greater, or if your BAC is under 0.08% but you are deemed too intoxicated to drive. If you are under the age of 21, you only need a BAC of 0.02% or more.