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How do BAC measurements work?

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2021 | Criminal Defense

One’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can play a big role when facing DUI charges. The ratio can even affect how severe the charges are.

So, how does this calculation work, and what does it mean?

What exactly is BAC?

First, it is important to note that the human body does not digest alcohol like it does food. It is absorbed into the blood through the stomach lining.

Therefore, as the term indicates, one’s BAC indicates the amount of alcohol in the blood. The specific ratio calculates the milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. This helps determine the effect alcohol has on someone.

Most people know that the legal BAC limit in North Carolina is 0.08 – or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. However, that does not mean that a BAC below 0.08 means you are in the clear. Individuals could still face DUI charges if their BAC is below the legal limit, but they still show signs of impairment.

Alcohol is not the only factor that affects BAC

The amount of alcohol you ingest is not the only thing that determines your BAC. There are many other elements that influence this, including:

  • The type of drink, or the alcohol content of each drink
  • The amount of food in your system
  • Your weight and size
  • Medications you are on
  • Other physical conditions

These factors combined with the alcohol consumed can cause BAC to vary widely from person to person.

Is the BAC calculation accurate?

Even though various factors aside from alcohol intake impact BAC, the ratio itself is often an accurate determinant of alcohol in the blood. However, there are a few things that might not be accurate, including:

  1. Charts calculating BAC: There is no shortage of charts and calculations online that demonstrate BAC levels and how they might impair someone. However, since everyone is different and every scenario is different, these do not always provide an accurate portrayal.
  2. Breath tests: Many studies have determined that Breathalyzers and breath tests conducted during traffic stops are not always accurate in determining BAC. Blood tests are far more accurate.

It is critical to be aware of how BAC works – as well as the potential issues surrounding how alcohol affects individuals. This knowledge can play an important role in fighting DUI charges.