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Consider the Factors that Influence your Blood Alcohol Level Before Getting Behind the Wheel

Police administering breathalyzer test to woman

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can have devastating effects on your education, your professional life, and even on your ability to find a place to live. The best way to avoid being charged with an Illinois DUI? Don’t drive if you’ve had too much to drink or have been using drugs that could affect your driving ability, and learn to identify when you’ve had too much. Read more about what factors will affect and influence your blood alcohol content (BAC), and speak with a seasoned Chicago criminal defense attorney if you’re facing DUI charges in the Chicago area.

Know what factors will result in an elevated BAC in Illinois

If you’re of legal drinking age, it isn’t illegal to drive after having had a drink, so long as you haven’t had too much. Without having access to a way to test your blood alcohol level, though, it may not be obvious that you’ve crossed over into the realm of having had one too many drinks to be safe behind the wheel. The following factors will have an effect on your blood alcohol level, whether or not you feel the effects:

Your height, weight and gender: More than anything else, your physical size will affect how quickly your body metabolizes alcohol, and thus how much remains in your blood. Men and women also metabolize alcohol differently. Men and women who are of similar size will not metabolize alcohol in the same amount of time, due to chemical and hormonal differences between the genders.

How much you’ve had to eat before drinking: Safety experts assert that how much you’ve eaten before or while drinking can slow down how much alcohol your body absorbs, and thus how much alcohol remains in your bloodstream. While you may think that eating a big, greasy meal after drinking will help to “soak up” the alcohol in your system, this is a myth. What you eat after drinking does not affect your BAC.

How much alcohol is in your drink, but not what type of drink it is: No matter what you’re drinking—a drink made with hard alcohol, a glass of wine, or a beer—the effect on your BAC is the same, so long as you’re consuming the same quantity of alcohol. In other words, 12 ounces of an average beer will have the same impact on your BAC as 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, even if the hard liquor may result in you feeling “drunk” faster due to being more concentrated.

Your BAC will not be different, no matter your “tolerance”: Experienced drinkers may not show their intoxication as quickly as more casual, occasional drinkers, and thus feel better-equipped to drive themselves home despite having multiple drinks. No matter how seasoned a drinker you are, however, your body is not able to metabolize alcohol faster than the novice drinker, and your BAC will be the same as others of your size and gender who have had a similar number of drinks.

If you’re facing DUI charges in Illinois, protect your future by seeking representation from knowledgeable, professional, and experienced Chicagoland criminal defense lawyers. Contact the Carol Stream offices of Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt for a consultation on your case at 630-665-9600.

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