You love hanging out with friends and having a good time, but you also know that drinking too much and getting behind the wheel could put you at risk of being arrested. Even if you monitor how much you drink, the only real way to know if you’re over the legal limit or not is to test your blood alcohol concentration.

The alcohol content of a drink isn’t the only thing that matters. Many different factors impact how alcohol affects you and is absorbed into your body. For example, younger people have fewer signs of intoxication when they have a higher BAC compared to older individuals. Some other factors that influence your BAC include your gender, body type, whether or not the drink is carbonated and if you’ve eaten or not.

1. Gender

Females are likely to become intoxicated faster than men. Women tend to hold less water in their bodies, which means that the alcohol is not “watered down” in the body. There is also an enzyme in the stomach that men have more of than women. That enzyme is responsible for breaking down alcohol. For that reason, men typically process alcohol more quickly.

2. Body type

It’s true that heavier individuals tend to hold their liquor better than lighter people. Heavier people tend to have more water in their bodies to break down the alcohol.

3. Carbonation

Interestingly, carbonation encourages alcohol to pass through your stomach faster. This results in your BAC rising quickly.

4. Food

What you eat, or don’t eat, also plays a role in intoxication. Those with food in their stomachs are less likely to get intoxicated as quickly, since the food slows down the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream.

People make mistakes, and sometimes it’s hard to know how much alcohol is too much. You may have thought it was safe to drive after drinking alcohol, but in reality, you were too intoxicated to do so. If you face charges because of a simple error in judgement, your attorney can help you fight for the best possible outcome.