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Absorption Rate

Alcohol Absorption Rate Explained

How It Can Affect Your BAC Level

Once alcohol is consumed, it passes through the body and is absorbed while some is eliminated. Blood alcohol content (BAC) levels are determined by looking at the difference between the absorption and elimination rates. Various factors have an effect on how quickly alcohol is absorbed or how quickly it leaves the system.

If there is a higher concentration of alcohol within the drink that the individual has consumed, the absorption rate will be much faster. Typically a beverage containing 20-25% alcohol consumed on an empty stomach will create the fastest absorption rate. If the concentration is above 40% alcohol or if they have eaten food, the rate actually may be slowed. It is vital that individuals become aware of how alcohol can affect their system, especially before taking to the road after a few drinks.

Factors to Consider

There are a myriad of factors that can affect an individual's level of intoxication. It is important to remain knowledgeable about these different aspects before consuming any amount of alcohol. Additionally, if you have found yourself charged with a DUI for any reason, these different components can all play an important role in creating a solid case defense.


This is probably one of the most influential elements as men and women are simply engineered differently. Even if a male and female that weigh the same amount both consume two drinks in one hour, the female will have at least a BAC that is .01 percent higher than the male.


It has always been said that eating food while drinking is essential. Foods that are high in protein are especially beneficial to eat before having an alcoholic beverage, as the food will help to slow down the processing and absorption rate. For health reasons, it is smart to have only one drink per hour so that the liver has time to catch up and digest the alcohol without putting your body on overload. Digestion can play a huge factor in how high or low the BAC level is in the individual's system.

Body Type and Weight 

Those that weigh less will be affected much more by alcohol than individual that is heavier. The blood alcohol content level can differ depending on the body fat, even if two individuals of the same gender weigh exactly the same. Women have less of a particular enzyme that is used to break down alcohol within the stomach, which causes them to have much higher BAC levels than men who may be drinking the same amount. Their hormones can also play a factor in causing greater levels of alcohol in the blood stream.

Drink Type and Strength of Alcohol 

It is fairly self-explanatory that stronger drinks will cause the blood alcohol content level to rise much faster than a drink with lower alcohol percentage. Hard liquor such as whiskey, gin and rum all have high proof and can cause intoxication at a much faster rate than something like beer, which is around the 4-5 alcohol percent range. Wine is higher than beer and is typically at the 12-14 percent range.

Preparing a Solid DUI Defense

Many individuals do not even realize the rate of absorption in their own system when they go out drinking on a social level. You may have found yourself driving home from a party, feeling fine and able to operate a vehicle, yet your BAC level would show otherwise. In the even that you have been pulled over on suspicion of DUI and charged with drunk driving due to your BAC, it is pertinent that you obtain qualified legal representation. Looking at the absorption rate and associated factors may actually help to strengthen your case.

At Blaine Jones Law, LLC our Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyers are adept at handling all types of DUI cases and can thoroughly investigate every avenue of evidence. Do not hesitate to contact our office today to learn more!

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