Michigan OWI Blood Alcohol Level
Understanding Blood Alcohol in a Michigan OWI Case
What we’re talking about essentially is the metabolism of alcohol. Which is one of the sciences that I mentioned is important to understand to defend these cases properly. So when I say that the unit of alcohol--and we can define that as a 12 oz. 5% beer, a 5-6 oz 12% glass of wine, or 1.5 oz of 80 proof liquor--that unit of alcohol, that standard drink, has the ability to raise the driver’s blood alcohol .025. Now I said the capacity, the amount of food that’s in the stomach, may delay the absorption, which may delay the period of time during which the alcohol is being metabolized. More alcohol is therefore being eliminated during the metabolism, which would lower the .025 to some lower number.
In order to do an actual calculation, it requires some sophisticated math, and most often if I need to do that I would rely on a computer program I have in the office, which would allow me to insert all those different variables. Now you mention gender. The reason gender is important is that women and men metabolize or eliminate alcohol at different rates. The average rate of elimination or a male driver is .015 per hour, for a female driver it’s .018 per hour, which is contrary to common sense. Most people think that women would eliminate slower and that’s why they get more drunk, more quickly. The reason that that happens is because women tend to have more fat in their bodies. Not being insulting to women, it’s just a biological fact. So what ends up happening is that there are less places for the alcohol to go because the alcohol goes where the water is. So the water in the blood tends to hold more of the alcohol, which increases the amount of alcohol that’s in the blood. On the other hand, women’s livers are larger as a percentage of body mass than men’s are, which is why they eliminate more quickly.
Host: That interesting. So basically, I always thought that women would have the harder time--what you’re saying is it’s the reverse, and that men are going to eliminate less quickly than women.
Patrick: But remember, men are larger, and they have more water, so there are more places for the alcohol to go other than the blood stream. So they are actually going to have less alcohol in their blood per unit time than women would. So there’s a play between the two different factors, and as I said, it becomes very complicated as far as the math is concerned. But we can rely on sort of the general rule which is a drink of alcohol, .025—elimination, generally speaking, .015.Submit a Free Online Case Questionnaire For Immediate Legal Support.
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