When It Comes to Driving, How Many Drinks Are Too Many?

Understanding BAC Laws in Michigan

Getting behind the wheel after a few drinks, even if you feel “fine,” can put you at risk of a DUI. In Michigan, a person who has a legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher is considered legally impaired. However, that doesn’t mean you are immune from a DUI arrest if you fall below this threshold.

You may be wondering, “how many drinks does it take to get to a .08 BAC level?” There is no definitive answer — as it depends on a few different factors. Here’s what you need to know.

Factors that Impact BAC Levels

How high a person’s BAC level is can depend on the following factors:

  • Age - As you age, the intoxicating effects of alcohol can increase.
  • Gender - Women have a lower water content in their bodies than men, so they are more apt to have a higher BAC even if they are similar in age and weight and consume the same amount of alcohol as their male counterparts.
  • Rate of consumption - The faster you drink alcohol, the faster BAC levels increase.
  • The drink's alcohol strength - More alcohol content in a drink means more alcohol entering your bloodstream.
  • Body type - A person who weighs more has more water in their body. This has a diluting effect and may not feel the effects as fast as a smaller person.
  • Fat and muscle content - Alcohol distributes in water spaces not fat — so the higher your body fat, the higher your BAC levels will be due to lower water content in fatty tissues. Muscle is higher in water content, so the BAC level will be lower in a person with more muscle.
  • Metabolic rate - Depending on your metabolism, it may take more or less alcohol to reach high BAC levels.
  • Medication - Some medications can intensify the effects of alcohol, such as allergy pills and some prescription drugs.
  • Food consumption - Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach will increase your BAC because food slows down the absorption of alcohol in your bloodstream.

DUI Charges You Could Face

Besides being arrested and charged with a DUI of .08 or higher, there are some specific charges one can face if you fall into the following categories:
You have a BAC of .17 or higher: High, you have a BAC that is .17 or higher, and you could be charged with a BAC OWI (operating while intoxicated). This charge may come with higher fines, penalties, and a longer jail sentence.

  • You are a Minor: Michigan is a “zero tolerance” state when minors drink and drive. If you are under 21 and are caught driving with a BAC of .02% or more, you’ll be charged with a DUI.
  • You are a CDL Holder: If you hold a commercial driver’s license, the BAC limit while driving a commercial vehicle is .04%. Commercial driver license holders who drive non-commercial vehicles and receive an OWI (operating while intoxicated) could jeopardize their commercial driving privileges.

Need Help with a DUI Charge? We Are Here For You

Being charged with a DUI is scary, and not knowing what to do can make the ordeal that much more stressful. At Grewal Law PLLC, our team brings over a decade of handling DUI cases. We can help you navigate the legal system so you can rest assured that your best interests are in mind in achieving the best possible outcome.

Call } at (888) 211-5798 to schedule a consultation and learn your rights.

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