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Where is that drink going?

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Where Is That Drink Going?

Have you ever paused and wondered, after spending an evening eating out with friends, what your blood alcohol content (BAC) levels are? Do you ever think about it when you are getting into your vehicle after having a few drinks during the big game? Although you feel just fine at the moment, have you ever considered whether or not the effects of drinking will get worse while you are on the road? How long can you expect the effects to last?

These are just a handful of scenarios that commonly occur when it comes to driving and consuming alcohol. Our clients are often surprised to learn that it is possible to roughly calculate what their BAC levels are before they get behind the wheel of a car. In fact, there are websites and apps that will make the calculations for you!

In the arena of criminal defense law, DWI cases are one of the most complicated fields. The vast number of cases that arise each year, coupled with the large percentage that are appealed, produce a consistent barrage of new case law. To make matters more complicated, this case law is often conflicting, and a DWI lawyer must be able to assimilate it all. Because the landscape of the laws surrounding DWIs is frequently changing, your New Hampshire DWI attorney, in order to effectively manage your case, must be able to stay on top of it all.

One field in which your lawyer must be wholly knowledgeable is how the human body handles alcohol.

Before you ever take that first sip of your first drink, your own body has produced a specific amount of alcohol. By itself, on average, the human produces the equivalent of one shot of alcohol – thanks to internal fermentation and digestive processes. So, without ever consuming a single drink, your blood alcohol content will already register the presence of alcohol. A Breathalyzer test or blood test, should you be tested, will display the presence of alcohol in your system. Although it will generally never impair you, there is a baseline presence of alcohol in your system at all times.

After consuming your first drink, your body begins to absorb the alcohol immediately. First, the alcohol makes its way into your stomach. At the same time, a small amount is being absorbed into the lining of your esophagus and mouth. Likewise, a small amount of the alcohol is also immediately absorbed into your blood stream. Once the alcohol has settled into your stomach, it begins to act upon it. On average, only about 20% of the alcohol you consume will be absorbed by your stomach. Your small and large intestines will absorb the rest.

From the moment you take your first sip and the alcohol enters into your bloodstream, it begins to have an effect on your body. Upon entering your bloodstream, the alcohol makes its way into your brain where the true effects start to take place. The effects are usually slight at first, but, as we are sure you know, the more alcohol you consume, the more pronounced the effects become.

The ideal method of gauging the effects of the alcohol you have drunk is to analyze individual portions of your brain. However, because this is an invasive procedure and something that law enforcement officials tend to frown upon, blood tests and Breathalyzer machines have been developed instead.

If you have eaten food at the time you are drinking, then the effects of the alcohol will be somewhat slowed, but will not halt it totally. Foods that are rich in protein and fatty foods are rather adept in slowing the absorption of alcohol. However, after the alcohol has entered your bloodstream, the effects are immediate. A moderate drinker will generally begin to feel the effects of alcohol consumption once their BAC levels have hit .03%. After your BAC levels hit .06%, your inhibitions lower considerably, and you will notice that your emotions have begun to intensify. A BAC level of .10% will produce a decrease in vision and perceptual acuity, speech, self-control, and balance.

As your blood alcohol content continues to increase, your level of impairment becomes much more noticeable to everyone around you – excluding yourself. The effects only become worse from there.

While there are specific factors that should be taken into account when considering how fast alcohol is absorbed into your system, its elimination rate out of the human body is generally fairly standardized. This rate generally does not vary from one person to the next, unless a person suffers from one of several different medical conditions.

The average individual (meaning one without an affecting medical condition) will eliminate, on average, .015% to .16% BAC levels each hour. For example, if your blood alcohol content is .08% (the standard legal limit), alcohol will still be present in your system 5 hours after you consumed your last drink.

Multiple studies have demonstrated that many “known” remedies for pushing alcohol out of your system are not actually effective. For example, taking a cold shower or drinking coffee will not really have any effect. Throwing up will have an effect, but only because it removes alcohol from your stomach, which prevents it from being absorbed into your bloodstream. The science behind calculating one’s BAC levels is complex, but it is not complicated to control your BAC levels. Generally, it is recommended that you consume only one alcoholic drink per hour if you are a female and two drinks per hour if you are a male. Non-alcoholic drinks should be consumed between alcoholic beverages. Ideally, you should shy away from drinking carbonated beverages, because these drinks tend to increase the rate at which your body absorbs alcohol.

Furthermore, you should bear in mind that, whether or not you are intoxicated, a police officer can always pull you over and put you through the harrowing ordeal that is a DWI investigation. Most police officers will have already made up their mind whether or not they are going to arrest you before they make initial contact at your vehicle’s window. Drink responsibly. The only sure method of avoiding a DWI is to have a designated driver or to take a taxi home. However, should you be arrested for a DWI, please contact one of our experienced and skilled New Hampshire DWI lawyers today.





Disclaimer: Past results do not guarantee a future outcome. Results include cases in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Attorney Dan Hynes is admitted to practice law only in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This website may be considered advertising. Contacting us does not create an attorney/client relationship and the information on this site is not legal advice and may be inaccurate or not applicable to your case. Each case is different.

Mailing Address: Dan Hynes PO BOX 598 Merrimack, NH 03054