Having a drink or two at happy hour after work is not a crime but driving while intoxicated is. You probably know that the legal limit is 0.08 percent and you can get a DUI if you are found driving while your blood alcohol content level is above this. But how can you tell if you’re above the legal limit? Without a professional-grade breathalyzer it can be hard to know if you’re too drunk to drive.

What Influences Your BAC?

Your BAC is determined by how your body absorbs and metabolizes alcohol, but everyone processes it differently. There are several different factors that can affect your BAC including:

  • Biological sex: in general, men metabolize alcohol faster than women
  • Weight: a person who is heavier will have a lower blood alcohol content than a person of a lighter weight who drank the same amount
  • Medications: different medications can influence your metabolism and absorption rate. Unfortunately, this is often unpredictable.
  • How much you’ve eaten: drinking on an empty stomach can increase your rate of absorption which can make you feel drunker faster
  • Rate of drinking: the faster you drink in a short period of time decreases your body’s ability to metabolize the alcohol, impairing you faster

These are just a few of the factors that can change in influence the way you metabolize or absorb alcohol, which can influence your BAC.

Due to these varied factors, it is extremely difficult to tell if you are technically too drunk to drive, no matter how many drinks you have had. You may not feel intoxicated even if you are over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Due to this, it is never a good idea to get behind the wheel after consuming any amount of alcohol. If you make a mistake, you could face a DUI charge with serious consequences.