If you drink alcohol and then drive, you risk a charge for drunk driving. The Governors Highway Safety Association states that in the U.S., all states except Utah define driving with a blood alcohol content level at or above 0.08% as a crime.
It can be difficult to determine if you have exceeded the legal limit for alcohol consumption before you get in a car and drive. This is because many factors affect how quickly your BAC level rises after drinking alcohol.
Rate of consumption
The faster you drink an alcoholic beverage, the faster your BAC level will rise. Generally speaking, the human liver can process approximately one alcoholic beverage per hour.
As you get older, the effects of alcohol on your body become more pronounced, putting you at a greater risk of a drunk driving charge. This means that after consuming the same amount of alcohol, you will likely have a lower BAC level than someone who is older than you.
Food in your stomach
Food slows the absorption rate of alcohol into your bloodstream after you drink. Because of this, you will have a higher BAC level after drinking on an empty stomach than if you ate something before you started drinking.
The size of the drink
The definition of a standard alcoholic beverage varies greatly from type to type. For example, a standard glass of wine measures 5 ounces while a standard bottle of beer is typically 12 ounces, and each contains a different amount of alcohol.