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Factors That Can Affect Your Blood Alcohol Content

Bretz Legal, LLC Nov. 20, 2023

Driver blowing into breathalyzer for alcohol testDrinking and driving remains a traffic violation in Missouri and across the United States. Under Missouri DWI laws, a person may be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) for operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of at least 0.08%. Essentially, a DWI charge is based on the presumption that an individual's BAC level will rise after taking alcohol. However, there are situations where various factors, such as food intake, medications, or health disorders, may cause your BAC level to rise, even after taking a few drinks. 

If you've been charged with a DUI but feel you didn't drink enough to warrant the result, hiring a highly-skilled Missouri criminal defense attorney is imperative to help build your case. Attorney Anthony Bretz has the skill and diligence to defend and represent clients in their drunk driving cases. As your legal counsel, he can investigate every aspect of your case, identify the reason for the false-positive BAC level, and determine the best defenses to fight your charges. Bretz Legal, LLC proudly serves clients across St. Louis, St. Louis City, as well as St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson, and Franklin counties, Missouri. 

Understanding Blood Alcohol Content

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), also referred to as blood alcohol level, is the percentage of alcohol that is present in a person's bloodstream. Generally, a BAC can be determined within 30 to 70 minutes after consuming alcohol. 

Furthermore, a BAC of 0.10% indicates that a person's bloodstream has one part alcohol for every 1000 parts blood. In Missouri, operating or being in actual physical control of a vehicle with a BAC of at least 0.08% (0.02% for commercial drivers) is prohibited. 

Factors That Can Affect Your Blood Alcohol Content

As mentioned earlier, taking alcohol can cause your BAC level to rise, regardless of the quantity. However, the rate of increase of BAC between one person and another usually varies and is affected by different circumstances. Here are some factors that affect your blood alcohol level: 


The enzyme dehydrogenase is known to break down alcohol in the stomach. Essentially, most men have more water, more dehydrogenase, and less fat than most women. Therefore, a woman would probably have a higher BAC level compared to a man upon consuming a similar amount of alcohol. 


In addition, your age can affect your blood alcohol content. As you grow older, your ability to metabolize alcohol will reduce. Due to this, an older adult or senior would likely have a higher BAC level than a younger adult. 

Health Disorders 

However, having an underlying medical condition or health disorder – such as diabetes, acid reflux, or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – can cause you to register a higher BAC level than the actual amount. 


Additionally, your height and weight affect your BAC level in different ways. Individuals with more height or weight have more volume of total body water. Since water dissolves alcohol, individuals who have more weight will have a lower BAC upon consuming a given quantity of alcohol. 


Also, taking certain prescriptions or medications can make you give a false-positive BAC level. Examples are oral gel, OTC medications, asthma medications, breath sprays, mouthwashes, and cold medications. 

Tolerance for Alcohol 

In addition, your alcohol tolerance determines how sensitive your body can be to the impact of alcohol. If you have an increased tolerance for alcohol, it will take more alcohol to become intoxicated. On the downside, your BAC level may be higher than expected. 

Rate of Consumption 

Furthermore, the faster you take alcohol, the quicker your BAC level will probably rise. 

Food Intake 

Lastly, taking food will reduce the rate of intoxication or absorption of alcohol in your bloodstream. The food may either absorb the alcohol or take up space which may prevent alcohol from entering the small intestine. Hence, if you drink alcohol on an empty stomach, you may have higher BAC levels. 

If you or someone you know has been recently arrested or indicted for drunk driving but feels that you didn't drink enough alcohol to warrant the BAC that was determined, you should get in touch with a reliable Missouri DUI/DWI defense attorney right away. Your legal counsel can review every aspect of your case. Identify inaccuracies in the test results, and determine the best course of action. 

Get Skilled Legal Support 

Different factors can affect how your BAC level rises after taking alcohol. Unfortunately, a false-positive BAC level may result in a DWI charge in Missouri. Bretz Legal, LLC, is dedicated to representing and defending clients charged with DWI due to false positive test results. Using his extensive knowledge, Attorney Anthony Bretz can investigate the DUI test result, identify inconsistencies, and craft a solid defense strategy to fight your charges in pursuit of the most favorable outcome. 

Contact Bretz Legal, LLC, today to schedule a simple case evaluation with a strategic criminal defense lawyer. Attorney Anthony Bretz can advocate for your best interests and make sure you receive fair treatment at every phase of the legal process. The firm proudly serves clients across St. Louis, Missouri, as well as St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, and Franklin County.