In the state of California, if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is determined to be over the legal limit of .08% you will be arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Making sure you are not above the legal limit will ensure you adhere to the law and avoid the costly fines and penalties that come with a DUI charge.
Can you Calculate Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) on Your Own?
Your blood alcohol content is the percentage of your blood that consists of alcohol. For example, a BAC of 0.04 means there are 4 parts (grams) alcohol to each 10,000 parts (grams) blood. There are a number of factors that contribute to your BAC, including: gender, age, body shape and size, the amount of food in your stomach. Even your ethnicity plays a part. Because of these varying factors, it’s difficult to calculate your BAC on your own without the aid of a breathalyzer or blood test. While keeping track of how many drinks you have consumed is wise, it’s really not a definitive way to determine if you are under the influence or not.
What you’re drinking will play a factor in establishing your BAC. While amounts of alcohol vary throughout the various types of alcoholic beverages, light beers can average about 4% to 9% alcohol content. Heavier craft beers average 9% to 12% alcohol content. Wine ranges from white (with a 4% alcohol content) up to port (20%). Liquor is usually 33% and upwards.
Breathalyzers are the most used tools to determining BAC. The handheld models that police officers use utilize electrochemical platinum fuel cells technology to measure the amount of alcohol in your breath. You might also be asked to take a blood sample test (if you are arrested and taken to jail). These blood tests use a near-infrared spectrophotometer technology. In California, if your BAC is over .08% and you’re behind the wheel of a car, you might be facing DUI charges.
Source: Law Dictionary, How To Calculate Blood Alcohol Content, 2014