Man arrested for drinking and driving
Man arrested for drinking and driving
Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) can be affected by many circumstances. A great deal of DUII’s occur when someone thinks that their BAC levels are low enough to get behind a wheel. When your BAC is 0.08% or higher, you are considered legally impaired.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, one drink is equivalent to 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor (40% alcohol), 12 ounces of beer (4.5% alcohol) or 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol.) But just how many drinks does it take to reach 0.08%? In a city such as Bend, where beers tend to be much higher than 4.5% alcohol, you have to know what contributes to your BAC.

How Quickly You Drink

The liver metabolizes alcohol at approximately one drink per hour. If your drinking pace supersedes over one drink an hour, the more likely you are to become intoxicated quickly. The liver is unable to keep up, circulating alcohol into your blood stream. The more alcohol in your blood, the more intoxicated you become, hence raising your BAC.


A lower body weight generally makes for a higher concentration of alcohol in the body. On the contrary, a higher body weight will process alcohol slower than someone who is petite. Fatty tissue doesn’t contain as much water as lean muscle tissue. Therefore, a person with a higher body fat percentage will contain more alcohol in their bodies.


Men and women process alcohol very different from each other. Men are usually larger in build, therefore having more blood volume and less body fat than women. This allows men to consume more and feel the effects of alcohol slower than a woman.

Dehydrogenase is an enzyme that breaks down alcohol. Men have a higher quantity of this enzyme in their body than women.

Food in System

While food does not absorb alcohol, it definitely slows down the process. If there is food in someone’s stomach, alcohol is absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream. The alcohol will still have its effects, but at a slower rate.

 Size of a Drink

Living in a “beer town” such as Bend, it is important to know that while it is illegal for a bartender to overserve, it still happens all of the time. Beers can range anywhere from 3% to 25% out here! If you’ve only had “one drink” but it was a 15% barrel-aged beer, then chances are, you’re probably over the legal limit. Same goes for ordering doubles. While a cocktail might call for one shot, your server might be “hooking it up” and over serving.

There are several other factors such as hormones, mixing medications and booze, tolerance, stress, etc., that will contribute to your BAC. While you may never know exactly when your BAC is at a 0.08%, it’s always better to play it safe. Take an Uber, Lyft or a cab before getting behind the wheel.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUII, Donahue Law Firm can help. Call us today. Play Hard, Play Safe!