Under New Hampshire law, it’s illegal for anyone to drive a vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 or more. A driver found to have a BAC of at least .08 commits the offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI), which leads to fines and other penalties on conviction.
That .08% isn’t just a randomly chosen number; experts have agreed that all drivers are impaired when they hit .08 BAC. Even experienced drivers will have difficulty in performing critical driving tasks such as steering, braking and lane changing once their alcohol level reaches the legal limit.
This blog will explain how BAC is calculated, and which factors affect a person’s BAC.
How is BAC calculated?
To calculate BAC, measure the amount of alcohol in your blood and then divide it by your body weight in pounds. When you drink, your BAC naturally increases. If you stop drinking, your BAC won’t drop instantaneously; it’ll take time for your body to metabolize the alcohol.
A breathalyzer test is one common method of measuring a driver’s BAC. The person breathes into the device – if their breath has any alcohol vapor, it reacts with a chemical in the device. The breathalyzer measures this chemical reaction, converting it into a value corresponding to the user’s BAC.
Factors that affect BAC
Apart from the number of alcoholic drinks consumed and weight, other factors may affect a person’s BAC. These include:
- Age: As a person grows older, their body’s ability to metabolize alcohol slows down.
- Gender: Women usually have a higher BAC than men due to their smaller body size and lower body water content.
- Food consumption: Eating before or while drinking can slow down the absorption of alcohol. Alternatively, some foods like bread can cause false positives on a breathalyzer test.
- Medications: Certain drugs and medications can affect a person’s ability to metabolize alcohol.
- Time: A person’s BAC decreases over time as their body metabolizes the alcohol.
These factors can interact with each other in complex ways.
If you’re facing DWI charges in New Hampshire, understanding the state’s BAC limits is essential for protecting your rights and future. Consider consulting with an experienced legal professional who can help navigate the complexities of DWI law. An attorney can provide valuable insight into the legal process, help you understand the penalties and consequences you may face, and advocate on your behalf to ensure your rights are protected.