The amount of alcohol in your blood at any given time depends on how quickly you metabolize it, as well as the ratio of alcohol to your weight. Men can usually metabolize alcohol faster than women, while heavier people tend to need to drink more to raise their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) than thinner drinkers. This is why it is important to understand how alcohol affects you personally, as well as how much alcohol you can consume based on your weight, before your BAC goes above the legal limit. Otherwise, you may unwittingly set yourself up for a DUI charge.
The Office of Alcohol and Drug Education at the University of Notre Dame provides a BAC estimate calculator to help you determine the maximum number of drinks you can have for your weight and gender. However, this BAC estimate should not be used as a green light to drive after drinking. Impairment can result from any amount of alcohol and you need to judge whether you’re sober enough to get behind the wheel safely. The calculator should only be used to approximate the amount of alcohol your body can absorb over a specific timeframe.
Know Your Own Limit
To demonstrate how body weight, gender and time influence BAC, the state of Connecticut compiled data into a reference chart showing the relationship among these three factors. While this chart can’t be 100% accurate for every person, it does show how BAC can vary even if two people drank the exact same amount over the exact same time period. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds and your friend weighs 130 pounds, you could be over the legal limit to drive after drinking two drinks over two hours and he may not be. Even if you feel and act less drunk than him, you could get a DUI if you drive and you may not be able to challenge the results with any hope of success or certainty.
When you decide to drink, make sure you give your body the necessary time to not only feel sober, but for your blood to absorb and metabolize the amount of alcohol you have consumed.
Do you have more questions about BAC levels, sobriety tests, or defending against a drunk driving charge? Fill out our contact form, or call us directly at 703-865-6610 to set up an appointment.