In Alabama, the legal limit for blood alcohol content, BAC, is set at .08 for motorists over 21 and .02 for motorists under age 21. Blood alcohol content is the amount of alcohol left in the blood from drinking alcoholic beverages. The BAC provided represents the grams percentage of alcohol estimated in the motorist’s blood using a breathalyzer. The range of blood alcohol content is no alcohol, detected at 0%, to potentially fatal, at .4%.
Understanding blood alcohol content
Alcohol is the intoxicating ingredient in beer, liquor and wine. The small intestines rapidly absorb the alcohol from the drinks and it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The BAC and intoxication increase if the motorist has been drinking alcohol faster than the liver can metabolize the alcohol and filter it from the blood. Typically, the liver can process one alcoholic drink per hour. Motorists driving with a BAC over the legal limit may be charged with driving under the influence, DUI.
Learning more about BAC
One alcoholic drink is generally defined as a 5-ounce glass of wine, 1.5 ounces of liquor or 12 ounces of beer. Blood alcohol levels can be impacted by the drinker’s height and weight, how quickly they were drinking, the amount of alcohol consumed, and the amount of food eaten beforehand. When the BAC is at .08%, the legal limit for DUI, motorists may have impaired judgment and reasoning, delayed reactions and reduced muscle coordination.
Even at .02% BAC, the no-tolerance level for motorists younger than 21, alcohol can alter the mood, inducing relaxation and a slight loss in judgment. Once a motorist has reached .1% BAC, slurred speech, slowed thinking and reduced reaction time are common. Penalties for a DUI conviction in Alabama could include a license suspension, up to one year in jail and $600 to $2100 in fines.