What is Blood Alcohol Content?


Alcohol gets absorbed into our blood through our intestines and stomach lining. BAC is a measurement of how much alcohol has passed through and is now flowing in the blood throughout our entire body. A Breathalyzer test is often used by law enforcement and is considered a standard tool to measure BAC; it is considered accurate enough to be allowed into evidence into a court of law. Every 45 minutes, someone in the United States is killed from an alcohol-related automobile accident.



Blood Alcohol 
Concentration (BAC)
Typical Effects Predictable Effects on Driving
  • Some loss of judgment
  • Relaxation
  • Slight body warmth
  • Altered mood
  • Decline in visual functions (rapid tracking of a moving target)
  • Decline in ability to perform two tasks at the same time (divided attention)
  • Exaggerated behavior
  • May have loss of small-muscle control (e.g., focusing your eyes)
  • Impaired judgment
  • Usually good feeling
  • Lowered alertness
  • Release of inhibition
  • Reduced coordination
  • Reduced ability to track moving objects
  • Difficulty steering
  • Reduced response to emergency driving situations
  • Muscle coordination becomes poor (e.g., balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing)
  • Harder to detect danger
  • Judgment, self-control, reasoning, and memory are impaired
  • Concentration
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Speed control
  • Reduced information processing capability (e.g., signal detection, visual search)
  • Impaired perception
  • Clear deterioration of reaction time and control
  • Slurred speech, poor coordination, and slowed thinking
  • Reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately
  • Far less muscle control than normal
  • Vomiting may occur (unless this level is reached slowly or a
    person has developed a tolerance
    for alcohol)
  • Major loss of balance
  • Substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving task, and in necessary visual and auditory information processing
                                                                                                                                              provided by nhtsa.gov


Does drink choice influence a person’s BAC?

The type of alcohol consumed does not make any noticeable difference in BAC measurements. A typical drink is considered to be .54 ounces of alcohol. One shot of distilled alcohol, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a standard 12-ounce beer all consist of approximately a half-ounce of alcohol.


What influences a person’s BAC?

The amount of body fat an individual has for their total weight affects how much alcohol will end up in the bloodstream. Women generally have more fat cells than men; alcohol is not absorbed into fatty tissue and so becomes more concentrated in the bloodstream. Further, the faster you consume alcohol, the higher your BAC will be. It is best to spread your drinks out over a number of hours.


BAC chart | Kenneth Padowitz, P.A.

When are you considered to be impaired?

In all 50 states, the legal limit for BAC is a .08. By the time an individual reaches a BAC of .05, alcohol has a sedative effect on your body and begins to noticeably slow reaction time. If you are under 21, it should be expected that being caught with any alcohol in the blood while driving would result in a DUI. It is always best to have a designated driver to avoid any arrests even if you believe you are okay to drive.

As seen from the chart above, it is very easy to be above the legal limit. Most people are close to or above the legal limit after only two drinks. If you choose to drive you will be subject to arrest.


Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Kenneth Padowitz

In these situations, an aggressive criminal defense attorney will be indispensable. A good defense starts before a prosecutor has the chance to file charges. If you need DUI help, contact Kenneth Padowitz today. His legal expertise gained through past experience prosecuting similar charges has given him a broad range of knowledge about DUI offenses and laws.