5 Things You Should Know About Blood Alcohol Concentration

what is blood alcohol concentration

Understanding blood alcohol concentration can be a rather tricky thing for many drivers. Most people understand that there is a legal limit and that above that limit drivers will receive a DUI charge. But beyond this, most drivers are unaware of how blood alcohol concentration actually works.

This article will help you understand the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration and what it is.

What is Blood Alcohol Concentration?

Blood alcohol concentration or BAC for short is the percent of alcohol in a driver’s bloodstream. Your BAC is determined by how much alcohol you have consumed during a period of time. One drink consumed over the course of an hour will result in a lower BAC than four drinks consumed over the same period of time.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to alcohol tolerance and affect BAC, so let’s get into some of those.

Things to Keep in Mind About Blood Alcohol Concentration

Men and women become intoxicated at different speeds. Other factors that affect BAC are the weight of the individual drinking alcohol, whether or not the food was consumed with alcohol, and how much alcohol was consumed.

While some people believe that there are hacks for lowering BAC, such hacks are simply myths and cannot lower blood alcohol concentration. Individuals have tried jogging, drinking coffee, or taking a cold shower all as ways to lower BAC and while these practices might make the individual feel more awake or alert, this will not lower BAC.

What is the Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit?

A driver above .08 percent blood alcohol concentration is considered intoxicated in Washington State. It is illegal for someone to drive if they have .08 or above blood alcohol concentration and if a person is pulled over and tests show their BAC is at the legal limit or above, they will be issued a DUI.

How an Individual May Feel at Specific BAC Levels

Here’s an approximation of how many drivers feel at different BAC levels. Of course, this list is not exhaustive and these symptoms are slightly different for every person, but overall, these are a good example of how many drivers feel at these percentages. 

  • Up to .07 BAC: individuals with a blood alcohol concentration below .08 (legally intoxicated) will usually feel relaxed and possibly a bit lightheaded. At this point, judgment is usually mildly impaired and emotions amplified.
  • .08-.13 BAC: individuals are legally intoxicated and have impaired motor skills, judgment, and sense of balance. It is illegal for anyone with a BAC this high to drive and doing so will be both dangerous and result in legal consequences. Many individuals at this level of intoxication believe themselves to be capable of driving as their judgment is affected.
  • .14-.19 BAC: at this level, the initial merry feelings subside and usually give way to anxiety and other negative emotions. Individuals may feel nauseous or sick and have trouble walking.
  • .20-.24 BAC: at this level of blood alcohol concentration, individuals may pass out, become extremely nauseous, experience disorientation, and they are less likely to feel pain (which could result in them hurting themselves and not knowing it).
  • .25-.29 BAC: individuals with a BAC this high have very-little-to-no physical control, will almost certainly experience blackouts and vomiting, and are severely impaired.

What to do if You are Facing DUI Charges

Driving while impaired at any level is very dangerous and could result in harm to oneself or others. But drivers all too often still rely on their altered judgment and attempt to drive home even while intoxicated.

If you are facing DUI charges due to driving over the legal BAC limit, contact a DUI defense attorney immediately. Facing DUI charges on your own will almost certainly result in a less than ideal outcome for you, so don’t delay in contacting a DUI attorney as soon as possible.

To schedule a consultation with a Seattle DUI attorney, contact Leyba Defense today.