Blood Alcohol Content

What is Blood Alcohol Content?
Drinking causes the concentration of alcohol to gradually rise in a person’s blood. This is measured as the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and is used to determine how intoxicated a person is for medical as well as legal purposes.

BAC determining factors
BAC is commonly based upon the number of drinks a person consumes however, this is a limited indicator because weight, sex, and body mass also affect BAC.

Eating food before drinking will also affect BAC since it slows down how long it takes the body to absorb alcohol. The effects of alcohol intoxication also depend upon a person’s tolerance.

For legal purposes, a BAC of 0.08% is sufficient for a DUI/DWI conviction in all 50 states. 0.08% is considered the point at which all adults are legally intoxicated.

A BAC of 0.15% to 0.20% is considered serious intoxication and will likely incur enhanced sentencing in DUI/DWI convictions.

A BAC of 0.35% and above is potentially fatal.

Number of Drinks
A drink is defined as one 12-ounce beer, one 3-ounce glass of wine, or one 1-ounce shot of hard alcohol.

While it’s already been noted that the number of drinks is a rudimentary way to determine whether a person is intoxicated, most adults can use the chart below to roughly gauge their personal level of drunkenness:

Numbers in italics represent an Impaired Driver
Number in bold represents a Legally Drunk Driver

WeightNumber of Drinks