What Is Considered A High Breathalyzer Reading?

What Is Considered A High Breathalyzer Reading?

High Blood Alcohol Content Levels

We all know a breathalyzer as something that is used by police officers at DUI checkpoints or when pulling someone over to detect their blood alcohol content levels. However, these small devices are much more complex than we may realize. Breathalyzers are able to determine just how impaired by alcohol someone is, which can end up saving lives.

What Are Blood Alcohol Content Levels?

Policeman holding device for checking alcohol intoxication while standing near the stopped car with woman driver
If you have high blood alcohol content levels, or BAC levels, you are over the legal drinking limit and should not operate a vehicle. The liver can handle about one drink an hour — this equals about one 12 ounce bottle of beer, one 5 ounce glass of wine, or a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor. If you drink any more than this amount in 60 minutes, you will likely have high BAC levels. For example, if you consume 4-5 beers in two hours, your body will not be able to handle all of the alcohol entering the liver at once. This will cause someone’s blood alcohol content levels to rapidly increase.
Blood alcohol content is a metric used to measure how much alcohol is in someone’s bloodstream. While someone’s BAC is mostly determined by how much they drink in one sitting, it may be affected by other factors as well. A person’s genetics, age, weight, drinking patterns, and other factors may contribute to their blood alcohol content levels.

Effects of Having High BAC Levels

If someone has high blood alcohol content levels, they may experience the following side effects:
  • Slurred speech
  • Slow reflexes & reaction time
  • Memory trouble & loss
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Passing out
  • Heartbeat changes
  • Breathing changes
  • Loss of coordination
How long a person feels these effects also depends on many genetic and behavioral factors. If someone drinks over twice the legal limit, it may take them up to 10 hours to sober up and be able to drive a vehicle again. It is important to note that while it may take a short amount of time to start feeling the effects of alcohol use, they might last for longer than you would expect.

Breathalyzers: What They Are & What They Do

Breathalyzers are essentially small machines that detect a person’s blood alcohol content levels. They are most commonly used by law enforcement or healthcare professionals, but they are now available for personal use as well. This is useful in cases where a few friends go out for a drink and try to determine if any of them are in shape to drive. If their blood alcohol content levels are higher than the legal limit according to the breathalyzer, it’s best for them to call a cab, a sober friend, or a ride sharing service.
A person uses a breathalyzer by gently blowing into a small tube. Almost immediately, the breathalyzer will display a person’s BAC levels. If a breathalyzer determines that someone is behind the wheel after drinking more than the legal limit, legal issues and arrest for DUI may occur.

What Is A High Breathalyzer Reading?

In 49 states, a high breathalyzer rating is anything over 0.08%. In Utah, the legal limit is 0.05%. Individuals are not permitted to drive when over this blood alcohol content level and may be charged and sentenced with a DUI or DWI if they are caught.

Maintaining Your Blood Alcohol Content Levels

To make sure your blood alcohol content levels are not above the legal percentage of 0.08%, try to limit yourself to 1 or 2 drinks if you plan on driving. To monitor your BAC levels, you can look up a blood alcohol content chart online or purchase a personal breathalyzer device.
To learn more about breathalyzers and other ways to detect blood alcohol content levels, contact our team of substance abuse and addiction professionals by calling 267.209.7313.


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