Most social occasions involve alcohol in one form or another, and there is nothing wrong with having a few drinks in the company of friends and family. However, consuming alcohol comes with certain risks, and understanding what it actually does to the body can help you avoid overindulging.
Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law is a criminal lawyer in White Plains who has seen firsthand how easy it is to get in trouble with the law after a couple drinks. If you are facing DWI charges in New York, call 914-772-8614 to discuss your situation today.
Until then, read on to learn how the body metabolizes alcohol:
Alcohol’s Effects on the Central Nervous System
Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows down functions in the central nervous system. Brown University reminds students that consuming alcohol results in poor coordination and slowed reaction time, and it is especially dangerous to mix it with other CNS depressants such as sleeping pills or tranquilizers.
After you swallow an alcoholic beverage, it makes its way through the digestive tract. Blood vessels in the stomach absorb approximately 20 percent of the alcohol, while those in the small intestine absorb the other 80 percent and carry it through the bloodstream to the liver.
The Liver’s Role in Metabolizing Alcohol
Once the alcohol reaches the liver, enzymes break it down so the body can eventually dispose of it. The rate at which the liver can metabolize alcohol varies among individuals and depends on several factors including weight, gender, age and overall health; however, there is a rough timeline that applies to most people.
In general, it takes the liver one hour to process 1 ounce of alcohol. That means if you consume more than 1 ounce of alcohol in 60 minutes, it will accumulate in the body and result in a high blood alcohol concentration that lasts for several hours.
For most people, consuming 1 ounce of alcohol will result in a BAC of .015. In the state of New York, individuals are considered legally intoxicated when their BAC is .08 or higher, but those under the age of 21 are considered driving while intoxicated if their BAC is 0.02 or higher.
Knowing how fast the liver can metabolize alcohol is only helpful if you know how much liquor your drinks contain. A normal 12-ounce beer, for example, which is typically 5 percent alcohol, contains 1 ounce of alcohol. Because wine contains roughly double the amount of alcohol at 12 percent, it takes just 5 ounces of wine to make one drink.
Whiskey, vodka, tequila, gin, cognac and brandy usually contain about 40 percent alcohol. That means it takes 1.5 ounces, which is enough to fill a standard shot glass, to make one drink.
It is important to keep in mind that many mixed drinks actually contain more than 1.5 ounces of liquor, which means you could be more inebriated than you realize if you consume three margaritas in a three-hour time period.
If you are facing DWI charges after spending a night out with friends, it is important to remember that you still have rights, and Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law will protect those rights. Call 914-772-8614 to discuss your situation with a DWI attorney in White Plains.