A person's blood alcohol content level is measured by the weight of alcohol in their system in comparison to a certain volume of blood. When a person in Illinois consumes an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol is absorbed directly into the walls of their stomach and intestines and then travels throughout their body until it reaches their brain. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that it takes approximately 30 to 70 minutes before alcohol can be measured within a person's system and their BAC level can be determined.
What affects a person's BAC level?
There are a variety of different factors that impact how quickly a person's BAC level rises after drinking alcohol. These include the following:
- How quickly the drinks were consumed-When alcoholic beverages are consumed quickly, the person drinking them will reach a higher BAC level than if they were to drink the beverages over a longer period of time.
- The person's gender-Since women typically have more body fat than water per pound than men, a woman will usually have a higher BAC level after drinking the same number of drinks as a man. This is because alcohol does not remain in fat cells very easily so it travels into the bloodstream quicker.
- The person's weight-Water is capable of diluting alcohol and lowering BAC. The more a person weighs, the more water is present in their body and the lower their BAC level will be.
- The amount of food in the person's stomach-The absorption of alcohol into a person's system can be slowed if they have had something to eat.
Those who consume alcohol should keep in mind that the type of alcoholic beverage they drink will not impact their BAC level. For example, the NHTSA states that one five-ounce glass of wine, one 12-ounce beer and one shot of distilled spirts all contain approximately half an ounce of alcohol, which is the standard for most alcoholic beverages.
Illinois DUI penalties
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, it is illegal for drivers to operate a vehicle with a BAC level at or above 0.08 in all 50 states. If a person is pulled over and it is discovered that their BAC level exceeds this legal limit, they will be charged with a DUI.
In Illinois, states the Illinois State Police, the penalties a person charged with a DUI faces depend on the number of previous DUI convictions on their record. For example, a person arrested for drunk driving for the first time may be required to pay a fine of up to $2,500 and spend up to a year in prison in addition to losing their driving privileges for a year. Due to the severe nature of Illinois' DUI penalties, drivers who were recently arrested for driving under the influence should consult with an attorney who can provide them with legal guidance at this time.