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Many things can impact your blood alcohol content

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Most everyone knows that it's illegal for adults to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. If you're trying to guess at what point you need to stop drinking if you're going to be driving home -- or anywhere else -- you're taking a big risk.

A number of factors impact how much alcohol it takes to reach the .08 mark. Many charts provide estimates of how many drinks you can consume based on the type of alcohol (beer, wine or "hard liquor), gender, weight and even time elapsed. However, there are many other factors.

Let's look at some of those and how they impact BAC:

Age: It may seem like your tolerance of alcohol increases as you get older, but older people actually reach a higher BAC with less alcohol. That's because the amount of water in your body decreases as you age. That means there's less water to dilute the alcohol you consume.

Body type: The amount of water in your body is also impacted by your weight. Typically, the more you weigh, the more body water you have. As noted, that dilutes alcohol to some extent.

Fat vs. muscle content: Fatty tissue has less water in it than muscle. Therefore, two people of the same gender who weigh the same can absorb alcohol very differently if one is very muscular and the other isn't. Muscles absorb alcohol better than fatty tissue.

Stress: Our emotional state can have an impact on our body. Being under stress impacts the flow of blood. It typically slows the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream. However, if you calm down (as many people do after a drink or two), the blood will begin to flow normally. This can cause your BAC to increase rapidly.

It's best not to drive after you've consumed any amount of alcohol. It's easy to order an Uber or Lyft, and the cost is a lot lower than what you'll end up paying if you're charged with DUI. You could also face jail time, fines, license suspension and potential damage to your career. That's why you shouldn't try to navigate the justice system on your own. It's always wise to seek legal guidance.

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West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman P.L.L.C.

310 S. Williams Blvd
Suite 250
Tucson, AZ 85711

Phone: 520-518-3781
Fax: 520-748-0852
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