mr ga duiThe best way to avoid DUI is to understand the effects that alcohol has on your body and how much you can drink before becoming legally impaired.

Blood alcohol content or concentration (BAC) is the measure of the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. The legal limit for BAC in Georgia is .08 for adults and .02 for individuals under 21. There are many factors that affect an individual’s BAC including the following:

  • The strength of the alcohol one is consuming. According to the CDC, a standard drink equals the amount of alcohol found in one of the following: 12 oz of beer, 8 oz of malt liquor, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz (or a shot) of distilled spirits or liquor.
  • The number of drinks you consume and the amount of time during which you consume them. If you have three drinks within one hour, your blood alcohol level will increase more than if you consume two drinks over the period of three hours.
  • Whether or not you’ve eaten. Drinking on an empty stomach means your body will absorb the alcohol more quickly than if you’d had a large meal before a drink.
  • If you’re a woman. Women’s bodies generally have more fat and less water than the male body and because fat cells do not absorb alcohol as well as other cells, more alcohol is left in the body when women drink.
  • How much you weigh. The more you weigh, the more water is present in your body to help dilute the alcohol in your system.
  • How old you are. Older people’s bodies do not process alcohol as easily as younger adults do.


Once you drink alcohol, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body’s fluids and tissues. After your body adjusts and evenly distributes the alcohol, the stomach and small intestine pump it through the liver, the body’s detoxifying organ. Blood is also pumped through the lungs to eliminate the alcohol through the breath.

The body eliminates alcohol at a constant rate. Intoxication is the result of drinking faster than your body can metabolize the alcohol.  Knowing how long it takes your body to metabolize the alcohol can help you determine when it is safe to consider driving.

The following chart calculated by Virginia Tech is a general guideline to calculate the approximate BAC dependent on weight of the drinker and the number of drinks consumed. This will vary depending on your body type, sex, and metabolism

Approximate Blood Alcohol Concentration Per Drink
Number of Drinks Approximate Body Weight in Pounds
90 lb 100 lb 120 lb 140 lb 160 lb 180 lb 200 lb 220 lb 240 lb
1 .05 .05 .04 .03 .03 .03 .02 .02 .02
2 .10 .09 .08 .07 .06 .05 .05 .04 .04
3 .15 .14 .11 .10 .09 .08 .07 .06 .06
4 .20 .18 .15 .13 .11 .10 .09 .08 .08
5 .25 .23 .16 .16 .14 .13 .11 .10 .09
6 .30 .27 .19 .19 .17 .15 .14 .12 .11
7 .35 .32 .27 .23 .20 .18 .16 .14 .13
8 .40 .36 .30 .26 .23 .20 .18 .17 .15
9 .45 .41 .34 .29 .26 .23 .20 .19 .17
10 .51 .45 .38 .32 .28 .25 .21 .21 .19
Subtract approximately 0.01 every 40 minutes after drinking has stopped.


Virginia Tech

The following chart illustrates the effects alcohol has on your body.
Progressive Effects of Alcohol
Blood Alcohol Content    How You’ll Feel/Act Physical Effects
.01 – .03 Normal None will be felt, but some can be detected by specialized tests
.03 – .06 Happy  Chatty Less inhibited Relaxed Lack of concentration  Reactions slowed
.06 – .09 Extraverted  Lack of inhibitions Emotionally desensitized Reasoning becomes illogical  Depth perception decreases Peripheral vision impaired
.10 – .20 Emotional instability  Diminished libido Impulsivity Reflexes and reaction time decreased dramatically  Loss of gross motor control (including walking) Slurred speech
.20 – .30 Unresponsive  Cannot understand Loss of sensation Motor impairment  Memory loss Black out / Unconsciousness
.30 – .40 Unconsciousness  Central nervous system slows dramatically Death is possible Loss of bladder function  Slowed breathing and heart rate
.40 – .50 Lack of behavior  Unconsciousness Death Breathing and heart rate slow dramatically
Greater than .50 Dead Death