What Does Your Blood-Alcohol Content (BAC) Mean?

Posted by Steven Eversole | Jan 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

We have all heard of the phrase “Blood Alcohol Content” or BAC as it relates to drunk driving and the effects of consuming alcohol. While you may know that you should not go “over the limit,” you may not know how certain blood-alcohol levels impact your body functions. At what level do we lose motor skills, have slurred speech or blurred vision? How many drinks does it take before we risk more permanent injuries or even fatality?

Alcohol breathalyzer dot test

Our drunk driving defense attorneys are experienced in protecting the rights of individuals who have been arrested and charged with DUI. In addition to defending our clients, we are also committed to public safety and promoting safe driving throughout Alabama. We often hear about the numbers related to BAC, but what do they mean?

Here is a breakdown of how certain blood-alcohol contents could affect your bodily function. Remember that alcohol effects everyone differently and levels of tolerance could also have an impact on how blood alcohol content relates to bodily function.


.02-.06—A blood alcohol level between .02 and .06 will usually mean that you are feeling the early effects of alcohol. You may not feel a loss of coordination or other substantive loss of function, however you may be feeling a slight euphoria and your inhibitions slightly lowered. Many people will feel relaxed at this level, but also slightly light-headed. On the higher end of this level, users may feel a sense of warmth and impairment of reason and memory. For some, behaviors become exaggerated and emotions may feel more intense.

.07-.10—After this stage of alcohol intoxication, users will start to feel “drunk” and may lose some cognitive abilities. You may have an impairment of balance, speech, or hearing. Remember that .08 is legally drunk, as the blood-alcohol level can also result in slowed reaction time and impaired judgment. At .07 to .10, users may feel less self-control and caution as reason and memory are impaired. At this level of intoxication, many users will feel more in control and functioning at a level higher than they really are.

.11-.19—Impairment at these levels becomes more severe and users may have a significant loss of motor coordination and judgment. You may start to slur your speech, lose balance, or even lose hearing. Again, the feelings of euphoria will intensify and your inhibitions will be lower. The higher your BAC, the more likely you are to lose physical control and you could begin to feel anxiety. Judgment and perception are likely impaired and you may start to feel nauseous. When you reach .19, you are probably in the “sloppy drunk” phase.

20-.30—As your blood-alcohol content rises, you will feel more disoriented and may need help walking. You could be injured, but not feel the pain. When your blood-alcohol level reaches .20, you could feel nausea and vomiting. You could also experience a blackout. At .25, your cognitive and physical abilities will be severely impaired. If you pass out, you severely risk asphyxiation from vomiting and could risk injury by fall or other accidents. Once you reach .30, you will have very little ability to comprehend your surroundings. At .30, it is very likely for the drinker to “pass out.”
.31-.40—Blood alcohol at these levels is very dangerous. If you pass out, you may not be able to be woken up. Any BAC at this level and beyond could result in coma and possible death.

Contact Birmingham DUI Defense Lawyer Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

More Blog Entries:
Early Morning Hours and “Still Drunk” Driving, Dec.26, 2013, Birmingham Underage DUI Defense Lawyer Blog
Increased DUI Checkpoints This Holiday Season, November 25, 2013, Birmingham DUI Defense Lawyer Blog

About the Author

Steven Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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