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Legal Alcohol Limit: BAC Level in DUI-OWI Cases in Michigan

For those who drink alcohol, and later plan to drive, this article about BAC DUI information delves into the legal alcohol driving limit in State of Michigan. Plus, it gives tips (for those drinking and driving) on how to stay within Michigan's adult-age BAC limit of zero point zero eight grams percent (0.08 gr.%).

When consuming alcohol before driving, be aware of your "limit" of alcoholic beverages is important to know in order to stay under the adult alcohol level for DUI-OWI. If you've been arrested for a drunk driving offense, you need to immediately contact an OWI lawyer for a FREEconsultation, about your driving privileges.

Michigan OWI arrests trigger an immediate driver's license suspension. Call immediately to get legal help and save your ability to keep driving.

The Legal BAC to Drive in MI. Drivers who reveal numbers close to the Michigan breathalyzer test limit of 0.08 gr. percent for an OWI can expect to face a potential drunk driving charge, if other indications of impairment are noticed by police.

The Legal BAC to Drive in MI. Drivers who reveal numbers close to the Michigan breathalyzer test limit of 0.08 gr. percent for an OWI can expect to be charged, if other indications of impairment are noticed by police.

Our law firm handles a handful of these DUI-DWI cases annually, which usually arise after a traffic accident. The good news is that over 90% of these cases are for first offenders, and a favorable outcome is usually possible.

How the Legal Limit of Alcohol to Drive has Changed. Sixty years ago, most states used 0.15 grams percent, which is roughly twice as much alcohol in the Great Lakes State as would be a legal blood alcohol concentration level in 2023.

With the exception of Utah, all states now have the adult level for the legal limit for alcohol at 0.08 grams percent for their DUI BAC level. Utah lowered its legal alcohol driving limit to 0.05 gr. % in 2021, making it the only state to depart from the 0.08 gram % level "ordered" by NHSTA during the least year of the Bill Clinton Administration.

Learning How Long You Must Wait Before Driving, after Alcohol ConsumptionDr. Erik M.P. Widmark, Swedish scientist who discovered the formula for estimating alcohol elimination from the body.

Widmark's formula takes quite a bit of math calculation. But, in 2023, online computer programs can give you a ballpark number for your BAC level after a certain number of standard drinks.

In researching several free, online BAC calculators, one with seemed to be easy to use and pretty close to BAC charts generated from prior research. The example checked was for a 180-pound male, whose drinking started 4.5 hours earlier. Our test subject drank six (6) standard 12-ounce beers, like a Budweiser in a can or bottle.

Only after 4.5 hours did this male drinker's BAC level drop below the adult 0.08 grams percent level. This lengthy "waiting period" shocks many yet matches Dr. Widmark's research. Some prefer to see an alcohol elimination chart, for various body weights.

Image produced on for a 180-pound male alcohol consumer. The interactive chart gives the elimination rate and waiting period necessary to drop below the legal limit.

Some of Widmark's findings included that since women (pound for pound, as compared to a male of the same weight) have more adipose tissue (fat content), on average. Because they have less muscle tissue within which alcohol gets metabolized, they will get drunk quicker.

Thus, after so many standard drinks (e.g., a 4.5-to-5-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce standard beer containing a 5% alcohol content) are consumed, a 125-pound woman will have a higher BAC level than a male at that same weight. This was proven by testing thousands of subjects and documenting the results.

Chart showing alcoholic beverages at certain alcohol content levels, for equivalent raw alcohol content in each drink.

Knowing the legal drinking limit to drive. These findings provide guidance for estimating your blood alcohol level driving rules. Most readers are astonished at how slowly alcohol leaves the body.

The answer depends on your particular body composition, as well as a number of other variables. The metabolism of alcohol is an essentially important component to understand how to defend DUI cases in Michigan properly.

Gender, Body Composition, and the Bearing on Alcohol Absorption

There are many physiological factors that play a role in determining how your body will be affected by alcohol. For example, men and women process alcohol differently, mainly due to differences in liver size and the presence of alcohol-eliminating enzymes as well as the percentage of body water that helps dilute alcohol.

Women also naturally have more body fat, which helps alcohol stay in the blood stream longer than in men. Because of these differences in body composition, a man and woman of the same weight will feel different effects from the same amount of alcohol.

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. So, what ends up happening is that there are less places for the alcohol to go because the alcohol goes where the water is.

Image of a word art map showing the State of Michigan and words relating to OWI lawyers and DUI attorneys in the Great Lakes State.

Thus, 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 livers are, which is why they eliminate more quickly.

But remember, men are larger, and they have more water in their muscle tissue, which provides more places for the alcohol to migrate into, other than in the bloodstream. As a result of this gender difference, a male is probably going to have less alcohol in their blood per unit time than women would.

A variation will exist between the two different factors, and it becomes very complicated as far as the math is concerned. A general rule of thumb is that (on average), that drinker should expect to eliminate between 0.015 grams % to 0.020 grams percent, per hour.

Call Today! FREE Lawyer Consultation & Receive Immediate Attention for Your Criminal Law CasePatrick T. Barone, leader of Barone Defense Firm, a Michigan attorney since 1992. Named to Super Lawyers as a Best Michigan criminal lawyer for 17 straight years.

Contact Barone Defense Firm 24 hours a day at our law firm's easy to remember toll-free number, 1-877-ALL-MICH or 877-255-6424. Receive your free criminal case review.

The Michigan DUI attorneys near me at our office locations will travel the entire Great Lakes State, to fight for citizens facing legal trouble in the Great Lakes State, for alleged impaired driving violations.

For your NO COST initial consultation, call today and learn how to protect yourself from losing the right to drive, and a possible unwarranted conviction. When the free legal advice from a skilled drunk driving defense lawyer is available, why would you NOT talk with our litigation team's local criminal defense lawyers to get answers to your questions?

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Patrick Barone is the ONLY choice for DUI defense. He was realistic from the start and made it a point to look at my case before taking my money. As a business owner, when I think of attorneys, I think of the "shark infested waters. Patrick is a shark alright, but his prey is not the client; it's justice for his client. Ten stars Patrick!! Chris F.
Attorney Patrick Barone was very helpful and helped me understand the charge and sentence absolutely clearly. He also guided me through step by step helping me form a statement. His instructions were clear and detailed. It was obvious he cared about me understanding every important detail within my case. I would absolutely recommend this defense firm to anyone in need. Aaron B.
The Barone Defense Firm is the firm I recommend. They are truly concerned about the person, not just the legal issue, but the person as well. They are the most knowledgeable defense firm that I am aware of, having actually written the book on DWI Defense. If you are faced with a DWI you will not find a more professional and skilled law firm. But, most importantly, they care about how the accused individual recovers his or her life when the case is complete. Very remarkable group of lawyers. William H.