BAC Breakdown: The Body’s Reaction to Your Blood Alcohol Level


The legal driving limit for a person’s blood alcohol content is .08, but not everyone knows exactly what that means. So, we thought we would break down BAC for our readers to get a better idea of the levels of impairment and how they correlate with BAC.

Bear in mind that there is no set definition for how many drinks it takes to pass the legal limit; it is different for everyone. Body weight, gender, alcohol habits and more can increase or decrease the number of drinks it takes a person to reach .08 BAC.

  • 0.02-0.03 BAC: Slight euphoria. Shy people may find that they are more open. Relaxation, perhaps lightheadedness
  • 0.04-0.06 BAC: Feelings of well-being, relaxation, lowered inhibitions and warmth. Emotional highs and lows are more intense. Reasoning and memory are affected, lowered sense of caution (Hold my beer!)
  • 0.07-0.09 BAC: Slightly impaired balance, speech, vision, reaction time and hearing. Euphoria. Reduced judgment and self-control, more impairment of caution, reason and memory. You may think you are less drunk than you actually are, but legally, this is the point where you can be charged for drunk driving
  • 0.10-0.125 BAC: Impairment of coordination and judgment is significant. Slurred speech, impaired balance, vision, reaction time and hearing
  • 0.13-0.15 BAC: Motor skills are failing, lack of physical control. Blurred or double vision, loss of balance. Euphoria turns to anxiety and restlessness. Judgment harshly impaired
  • 0.16-0.19 BAC: Dysphoria, nausea. At this point, you’d be considered “sloppy,” or a “hot mess.”
  • 0.20 BAC: Dazed and confused. You may need help standing or walking. You may not feel pain. Nausea, vomiting and blackouts are common at this level.
  • 0.25 BAC: All functions severely impaired. This is over three times the legal limit for driving

Going beyond 0.25 increases your risk of serious harm. If you are going to drink, pace yourself! Alcohol metabolizes at a predictable rate of about .016 BAC per hour, and there is no way to accelerate the process.

DUI Matters – Denver Drunk Driving Lawyers

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