Many people don’t realize how alcohol can affect them. If you plan on heading out to some parties this weekend, take the time to review some of the basics regarding alcohol and your body and mind. This might help you to figure out whether you can safely drive. Getting caught driving drunk would definitely ruin your fun night.

It is critical to understand your personal tolerance for alcohol. Setting smart limits for yourself can keep you out of trouble.

Effects depend on blood alcohol concentration

The current laws that limit blood alcohol concentration to .08 percent are meant to protect people, including drivers, from the ways that alcohol can impact the ability to drive. Drivers who have a BAC at this level are likely going to experience problems with reaction time and the ability to control a vehicle. In fact, these impacts can start with BAC as low as .06 percent.

As the BAC gets higher, the effects of alcohol become more pronounced. By .10 percent, significant problems with motor skills start to occur. Speech, reaction time and hearing are all impacted at this point. If the BAC climbs to .13, lack of physical control and a sick feeling begins. At around .16, the person can be considered drunk. Blacking out might happen at .20, loss of consciousness at .25 when alcohol poisoning sets in, and death is likely by .40.

Alcohol metabolism and your BAC

When you are drinking, you can expect that your BAC will rise as you consume more alcohol. If you stop drinking, your BAC will drop at a rate of .015 per hour. This means that if you have a BAC of .08 percent, it likely won’t make it back down to .00 for five to six hours after it peaks. Factors other than time — like drinking coffee — aren’t going to speed up the process, so don’t fall for the myths.

If you are facing drunk driving charges, you should think carefully about your defense strategy. Consider how you would deal with the ramifications of a conviction. Get legal help if you need it, especially if your case is complex.