Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is the measure of alcohol in your blood. Calculating your BAC can be important in various situations, whether it’s before leaving a bar or restaurant or if you have been arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). When apprehended for DUI, law enforcement may ask you to perform field sobriety tests, such as standing on one leg, following a light with your eyes, or walking heel-to-toe in a straight line. Failing these tests may lead the officer to suspect drug or alcohol impairment, in which case they may request further testing, such as a breath or chemical (blood or urine) test.
What Is Blood Alcohol Concentration?
As you consume alcoholic beverages, the alcohol enters your bloodstream, and the concentration of alcohol in your blood increases accordingly. The legal limit for adults in most states, including Pennsylvania, is 0.08 percent. Exceeding this limit can result in a DUI charge. A BAC test specifically measures the amount of alcohol in your blood, with a BAC of 0.08 indicating 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.
For individuals under the legal drinking age, Pennsylvania has a zero-tolerance policy towards underage DUI, meaning any BAC of 0.02 percent or higher leads to an automatic DUI charge.
What Factors Affect BAC?
- Gender: Women generally have a higher BAC than men who consume the same amount of alcohol. This is primarily because women tend to have a smaller physique compared to men.
- Body Fat: Higher body fat content can result in a higher BAC. This is because body fat does not absorb alcohol as effectively as other tissues.
- Empty Stomach: Not eating before drinking can lead to a higher BAC compared to individuals who had a meal along with their drinks. The presence of food in the stomach can slow down alcohol absorption, resulting in a lower BAC.
- Body Size: Smaller and lighter individuals usually have a higher BAC compared to their larger and heavier counterparts. This is because alcohol has less space to spread out in the body of a smaller person.
To estimate your BAC, it’s important to understand the alcohol content commonly found in different drinks. One drink is equivalent to one 5-ounce glass of wine, a single 1.5-ounce shot of liquor, or one 12-ounce beer. Wine typically contains 15 to 20 percent alcohol, liquor ranges from 30 to 50 percent, and beer contains about 4 to 4.5 percent. For example, a Long Island Iced Tea, which combines five types of alcohol, has an alcohol content of 22 percent.
To calculate your BAC, you will need to know the duration of your drinking session, the number of ounces of alcohol consumed, the alcohol percentage in the drinks, and your weight. Widmark’s Formula can help you determine your BAC:
BAC = (ounces of alcohol consumed * 5.14 / weight in pounds * gender constant) – .015 * hours since drinking began.
The gender constant for alcohol distribution is 0.66 for women and 0.73 for men.
As an example, if you are a 150-pound adult woman who consumed two 12-ounce beers in the last two hours…
% BAC = (1.20 x 5.14 / 150 x 0.66) – 0.015 x 2
% BAC = (6.168 / 99) – 0.03
% BAC = 0.062 – 0.03
% BAC = 0.032 (which is below the legal limit of 0.08% for adults and indicates that you are not legally intoxicated)
Do This When Your BAC Is Too High
Remember, it’s crucial to comply with the legal requirement of taking a BAC test. Refusing a blood or breath test will result in an automatic license suspension and an additional criminal charge. If you find yourself arrested for DUI, seek the immediate assistance of a seasoned Washington PA DUI attorney.
If you are facing charges of Driving Under the Influence, you deserve the expertise of an experienced and knowledgeable Washington PA criminal attorney. At Logue Law Group, we have successfully handled numerous DUI cases. Our services extend to Washington, PA, West Virginia, and Ohio. Contact us today for an initial consultation at 844.PITT.DUI or (412) 389-0805, or visit our website to get in touch.
Free ConsultationYou will never find us short of knowledge & commitment
while handling your case.