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Virginia Blood Alcohol Content

Virginia Blood Alcohol Content

Legal BAC

The legal limit for Blood Alcohol Content in Virginia is 0.08 BAC.  If your blood alcohol is 0.08 or higher, operating a vehicle can be a serious criminal offense.

Your BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration or Blood Alcohol Content) is the amount of alcohol present in your bloodstream. The more you consume, the higher your BAC gets. However, no two people are alike.  One person may drink the same amount, over the same period time, and have dramatically different results when his BAC is tested. Your body size, how much you've had to eat, percentage of body fat, and sex are all factors that affect your BAC. A woman’s BAC will almost always be higher than a man’s when consuming the same amount of alcohol.

What can affect your BAC?

  • The amount of alcohol you consume.
  • The period of time in which the alcohol was consumed. As a general rule, the quicker you drink, the higher your peak BAC will be.
  • Body size. Larger people usually reach lower peak BACs than smaller people when consuming the same amount of alcohol.
  • The amount of food in your stomach. When there is food in your stomach, alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream at a slower rate. Because there is no food to slow the absorption of alcohol, the BAC rises faster when you drink on an empty stomach.
  • Type of mixers used. Water and fruit juices may slow absorption. Carbonated beverages will speed up absorption.
  • Gender. Because women have less water in their bodies and more adipose tissue (fat) – which is not penetrated by alcohol – women reach higher peak BACs faster. All factors being equal, a woman will typically have a higher BAC level than a man who consumes the same amount of alcohol.

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