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Blood Alcohol Levels & Effects

How Alcohol Enters The Body

Alcohol is absorbed into the body’s system through the stomach and small intestine. Blood vessels in both carry the alcohol into the body’s bloodstream. While it may be counterintuitive, most of the body’s absorption of alcohol — about 80% — actually occurs in the small intestines rather than the stomach. It is then metabolized by enzymes in the liver that begin the process of breaking down the alcohol. Here, it’s important to realize that the liver can typically process only one ounce of liquor an hour — the equivalent of one drink. When people drink more than this, their body simply cannot break the alcohol down fast enough. As a result, alcohol accumulates in the blood, leading to various degrees of inebriation. This is why people who drink a number of shots or beers in a short period of time remain drunk for hours afterward.

What Equals One Ounce Of Alcohol In Common Drinks?

Although some foreign beers have a higher level of alcohol than domestic beers, in general, one 12 ounce beer is equal to one drink. In 80 proof hard drinks such as whiskey, vodka, scotch, etc., one shot is equivalent to roughly one drink. A 5 ounce glass of wine typically has about 1 ounce of alcohol and is equal to one drink.

DUI And How Alcohol Affects The Body

Technically speaking, alcohol is a depressant. This means alcohol slows down or impedes the normal functioning of the central nervous system. As more and more alcohol is absorbed into the body, reaction time decreases, motor skills and coordination are adversely affected and the ability to think clearly becomes increasingly difficult. At extremely high levels, breathing slows down leading to a coma or even death. This is why people who are arrested for DUI/DWI often swerve, slur their speech and have difficulty performing a field sobriety test.

How Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Can Be Calculated

Determining BAC depends on how much you drink, how much you weigh and the time period over which the drinks are consumed. In order to calculate your BAC in relation to body weight and number of drinks consumed, this chart provided by the state of Connecticut should be consulted.

Arrested For DUI? Contact DUI Defense Lawyer Joseph J. Colarusso Today

How the body absorbs alcohol and how a Breathalyzer works can create unique problems for officers in the field. In fact, how one blows into a breathalyzer can impact the results — and officers know this. If you’ve been arrested for drunk driving, contact DUI defense attorney Joseph J. Colarusso today to schedule an appointment and discuss your case.