Many Factors Can Affect a California Driver’s Blood Alcohol Content

There are many different factors which can affect how quickly a person’s blood alcohol content rises after consuming alcohol.

When a person in California consumes an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol is absorbed directly into the walls of the stomach and small intestine. After this occurs, the alcohol goes into the bloodstream and then travels throughout the body to the brain, states the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The amount of alcohol in a person’s body in relation to a certain volume of blood is his or her blood alcohol content level.

What can impact a person’s BAC level?

There are many different factors that can impact how quickly a person’s BAC level rises after an alcoholic beverage is consumed. According to the NHTSA, these include some of the following:

  • Weight – water can dilute alcohol and lower a person’s BAC level. The more a person weighs, the more water will be present in his or her body.
  • Food in the stomach – absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream can be slowed if the person drinking has had something to eat.
  • Gender – typically, more alcohol remains in the blood of women than men. This is because women generally have more fat and less water per pound of body weight.
  • How quickly the alcohol is consumed – a person who consumes an alcoholic beverage quickly will reach a higher BAC level than if he or she drank the same beverage over an extended time period.

Contrary to popular belief, the type of alcohol consumed does not have an effect on how quickly a person’s BAC level rises. The NHTSA states that most alcohol beverages contain approximately half an ounce of alcohol. This is the same amount found in one 12-ounce beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine and a shot of distilled spirts.

DUI penalties in California

In California, according to the California Vehicle Code, it is illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle with a BAC level at or above 0.08. If a driver is arrested for driving with a BAC level that exceeds this limit, he or she will face the severe penalties associated with DUI.

However, the penalties a person faces for DUI depend on the number of prior drunk driving offenses on his or her record. For example, the California Department of Motor Vehicles states that a person who drives intoxicated for the first time may have to spend no less than 96 hours in jail and pay a minimum fine of $390.

Consult with an attorney

Those in California who are arrested for DUI may be concerned about how a potential conviction could affect them legally and financially. If you were recently arrested for drinking and driving, speak with an attorney to determine what steps you should take next.