When is drinking risky?

Legal limits

Your gender, weight, physical conditions, and even your genetic makeup can influence how much you can drink and still stay below the legal limit. The amount and speed of your drinking, as well as what else you eat or drink, can make a difference, at least in the short-term. Whenever you are in doubt, stop drinking and wait until you’re sure that you are in control and able to make good decisions.

How does law enforcement measure my alcohol level?

Practices for measuring blood alcohol concentration (BAC) vary, but most areas use what is called a “breathalyzer.” When you have been drinking, your lungs release some of the alcohol in your bloodstream; this amount can be measured when you blow into a breathalyzer device.

BAC can also be directly determined by taking a sample of your blood and putting it into a special device to measure the concentration of alcohol.

Some alcohol also appears in your saliva, so a swab of your mouth can be analyzed to estimate your BAC. Alcohol can also be detected in urine samples.