How Many Drinks is .08 BAC?

In the United States, the law is fairly clear. Whether you’re driving in Houston, Texas, Juneau, Alaska, or Secaucus, New Jersey, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher is considered over the legal limit. Naturally, the law applies to drivers over the legal drinking age (21 years old). However, you might find it interesting to know that states vary the BAC limit for minors from a no tolerance policy (0%) to 0.02%. So just how much is too much?

Well, this is a difficult question to answer that is dependent on a number of factors. But, to start with, let’s first define “a drink.” Technically, a drink should be the equivalent of one serving of an alcoholic beverage. In the case of liquor, one 1.5 oz shot of 80 proof liquor is considered a serving. Meanwhile, 5 oz of wine or 12 oz of beer can be counted as a one serving drink. In order to calculate BAC, the Widmark formula is frequently used, which takes into account weight, the body’s water content, metabolic rate, as well as the number of drinks consumed in a specified number of hours.

In the Widmark formula, the constant percentage of body water (80.6%) is multiplied by the number of drinks consumed, which is then multiplied by 1.2 to convert the measurement into a Swedish standard unit. The product of this multiplication equation is then divided by the product of the individual’s weight in kilograms multiplied by another body water constant (for women – 0.49 or for men – 0.58). Once divided, you must subtract the product of the metabolic constant (0.017) times the number of hours that the drinks were consumed over from the resulting number. Are you confused?

Let’s look at an example…
The average males weighs approximately 88 kg, or 194 lbs. If this male consumed six 12 oz beers over a 4 hour time frame, we would calculate his blood alcohol content as follows:

However, it’s important to point out that the Widmark formula is not perfect. Different people metabolize alcohol at different rates, and not every drink that you consume is a single serving. Your best choice is to simply not drink and drive. However, if you’ve been charged with a DUI, an experienced defense attorney will know how to fight your case. Contact qualified NJ DUI Lawyers if you’ve been arrested and need representation.