What factors affect a person’s blood alcohol content level?

There are many factors that affect blood alcohol content, which is why many drivers may be unaware that they have exceeded the legal limit.

In Arizona, it is illegal for drivers to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content level at or above 0.08, states the Arizona Department of Transportation. If a law enforcement official discovers that a driver's BAC level is above this legal limit, he or she will be arrested for drunk driving and charged with DUI.

Many factors affect blood alcohol content

When a person consumes an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol is absorbed directly through the walls of his or her stomach and small intestine. Once this occurs, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that the alcohol enters the bloodstream and travels throughout the body and to the brain. However, how slowly or quickly this process occurs depends on a number of different factors, which include:

  • The person's gender-more alcohol remains in the blood of women than men because women typically have more body fat per pound.
  • How much the person weighs-the more a person weighs, the lower his or her BAC level will be after consuming the same alcoholic beverage as a person who weighs less.
  • The amount of food in the person's stomach-the absorption of alcohol into the body's system can be slowed if a person has had something to eat.
  • How many drinks were consumed and the rate of consumption-a person's BAC level rises in proportion to how many alcoholic beverages he or she consumes and how quickly he or she drinks them.

However, a person's BAC level is not affected by the type of alcohol that he or she consumes. According to the DOT, most alcoholic beverages contain about half an ounce of alcohol. This is equivalent to the amount of alcohol found in one 12-ounce beer, one shot of distilled spirits and one 5-ounce glass of wine.

DUI penalties in Arizona

When a person is charged with DUI for driving with a BAC level that exceeds the legal limit of 0.08, the penalties he or she faces depend on the number of prior convictions on his or her record. For example, a driver charged with drunk driving for the first time may be required to spend no less than 10 days in jail and pay a fine of at least $1,250. In comparison, a driver charged with DUI for the second time or for any subsequent offenses may have his or her driver's license revoked for 12 months, be required to spend at least 90 days in jail and may also have to pay a minimum fine of $3,000.

In addition to these penalties, Arizona drivers convicted of DUI may find that their reputation within their location community is harmed. If you were arrested for drinking and driving, speak with an attorney to find out what legal steps you should take next.

Keywords: DUI, drunk driving, arrest, charges