Fill out all parts of the table to the best of your knowledge. If you aren't sure about the alcohol content of your drink, use our handy table below the calculator. You must scroll on the table for smaller screens to see everything. If your drink isn't listed, choose the most similar option; when in doubt, overestimate the alcohol by volume to be safe.
*Note: This BAC calculator is for general estimations ONLY. It should NOT be used in place of a Breathalyzer test, nor should it be considered proper legal advice. Never drink and drive.
If you've been arrested for a DUI in Pennsylvania, you may be asked to take a breathalyzer test. Even if you haven't been stopped for DUI, you may want to determine your approximate blood alcohol level. If you are stopped for DUI, you'll be asked to perform several field sobriety tests.
These are done to help the police officer quickly analyze if you are possibly intoxicated. These tests include following a light with your eyes, standing on one leg, and walking straight. If the police have reason to believe you are intoxicated, they may ask you to take a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test. These tests determine the blood alcohol level.
What is Blood Alcohol Content?
Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the alcohol concentration in the bloodstream. When you drink an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol enters your bloodstream. The more you drink, the higher the alcohol concentration in your blood. The legal BAC level in Pennsylvania is 0.08 percent for adults over 21. If you are driving with a BAC of over 0.08 percent, you can be considered legally over the limit and may be charged with DUI (driving under the influence). A BAC test measures the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream. For example, a BAC of 0.05 percent means that the person has a concentration of alcohol of .05 grams for every 100 ml of blood.
What Can Have an Effect on Blood Alcohol Level?
Several factors can affect your BAC. Some of these factors include:
- Body size: a person who is smaller and weighs less will have a higher BAC than a more prominent person. This occurs because the alcohol is more concentrated in a smaller-sized body.
- Body fat: Body fat doesn't absorb alcohol as readily, so a person with more body fat will tend to have a higher BAC.
- Empty stomach: Drinking on an empty stomach will increase the BAC because the body immediately allows the alcohol to enter the bloodstream. A full stomach absorbs some of the alcohol and thus lowers the BAC.
- Gender: Women who drink the same amount as men will almost always have a higher BAC, primarily because of their size.
- Mixers: Sugarless mixers allow alcohol to enter the bloodstream more easily. Grapefruit juice mixers also increase the rate of alcohol absorption.
How to Determine Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)?
You can make a rough estimate of your BAC. When determining your BAC, remember that one drink is equal to:
- one 12-ounce beer (4% to 4.5% alcohol content),
- one 5-ounce glass of wine (15% to 20% alcohol content), or
- one 1.5-ounce shot of liquor (30% to 50% alcohol content).
You will need to know your weight, the number of fluid ounces of alcohol consumed, the percentage of alcohol in the drinks you had, and the length of time, in hours, that you spent drinking. Plug these values into the BAC calculator to determine your approximate BAC.
The BAC calculator is intended only as a tool and may differ from a breathalyzer or blood test.
What to Do When Your BAC Is Too High?
The first thing to remember is that you must legally submit to a BAC test if you're pulled over. If you refuse to take the test (breathalyzer or blood), you will face additional charges and penalties in addition to DUI.
The best thing you can do if you have been charged with DUI is to talk to an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible. Often, there are several charges, some of which may be dropped if an attorney is involved immediately. An attorney will work to determine what happened and to develop a compelling defense strategy.