What factors affect blood alcohol concentration?

Your blood alcohol concentration is an objective measure of how much alcohol is in your system. In Wisconsin, it is illegal for you to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater.

Circumstances can affect how your body processes the alcohol you consume. While drinking more alcohol may result in a higher BAC, there are other factors that determine the level of alcohol in your blood.

Whether your stomach is empty or full

Your body tends to process alcohol more slowly when your stomach is full. Therefore, if you drink on an empty stomach, your BAC is likely to be higher. The type of food you eat also makes a difference. According to WebMD, foods that are high in protein slow down the process.

How strong the drinks are

The greater the alcohol content in the drinks, the higher your BAC is likely to be. Therefore, you can drink a lower volume of hard liquor and still end up with a higher BAC than someone who drank greater quantities of beer.

Whether you are male or female

Alcohol tends to have a stronger effect on women than men. This may relate to hormonal changes and a higher ratio of fat to water in women’s bodies. There is also a stomach enzyme found in higher levels in men than women that helps break down alcohol.

How much you weigh

Water in your body dilutes the alcohol you consume so that does not affect you as strongly. If you weigh more, your body contains more water.

If charged with operating while intoxicated, your BAC is one only piece of evidence that can indicate impairment of your driving ability. Even if your BAC was under the legal limit, it is still possible for a court to convict you.