Due to the way the body processes alcohol, people’s BAC levels may remain elevated after they are done drinking, which may result in a next day DWI arrest.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there were more than 23,000 DUI arrests across the state in 2014 alone. For some, a suspected drunk driving stop may come after they thought they had done everything right. This is because drivers may be arrested for driving while intoxicated the day after they were out drinking. In order to protect themselves from such charges, it is important for people to understand blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, levels and how the body metabolizes alcohol.

What factors affect blood alcohol concentration levels?

The BAC level is the weight of alcohol in a certain volume of people's blood. Thus, as people consume alcoholic beverages, their BAC levels will rise. There are numerous factors that may affect this measurement. According to WebMD, these include the following:

• A person's weight

• A person's gender

• The number of drinks a person consumes per hour

• Whether a person has any food in his or her stomach while drinking

Many people believe the type of drink a person consumes also affects his or her BAC level. However, this is not necessarily the case. Generally, the amount of alcohol is the same in one 12-ounce beer, one shot of distilled spirits or one five-ounce glass of wine.

How does the body process alcohol?

Once consumed, alcohol enters the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine. After it is absorbed, the body immediately begins processing and eliminating alcohol. According to the AAA DUI Justice Link, alcohol is eliminated from the body through the oxidation process, breathing and sweating. It may take anywhere from 75 to 90 minutes for the average person to process the alcohol in one standard-sized drink.

Due to the way that the body processes alcohol, people's BAC levels may continue to rise until well after they have stopped drinking. For instance, a person goes out and consumes two drinks per hour from 9 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. At 7:30 a.m. the following morning, he or she may still have a BAC level of .08 percent. Consequently, he or she may be arrested for drunk driving the day after drinking.

Seeking legal counsel

Being charged with drunk driving is a serious offense in Missouri, which may carry potentially life-changing penalties. People may face jail time and fines, and their personal and professional lives may be adversely affected. Therefore, those who have been arrested for DWI may find it helpful to obtain legal representation. A lawyer may look out for their interests and help ensure their rights are upheld, as well as aid them in establishing a solid criminal defense.

Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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