Factors That Influence Alcohol Absorption

Posted on April 10, 2014

Car Keys and Drink

The results of a breathalyzer test will give police an idea of what a person’s blood alcohol content, or BAC, is at the time of the stop, but that number alone does not always tell the whole story as your Redwood City DUI lawyer advises. There are a number of factors that can affect the speed at which alcohol is absorbed into the body including speed of the consumption of alcohol, type and strength of the alcohol consumed and cigarette smoking. This makes it possible for a person to consume a relatively small amount of alcohol and still test with a high BAC.

Speed of the Consumption of Alcohol

Scientific evidence shows that the speed at which a person ingests alcohol affects the rate at which the alcohol will be absorbed into the body. Large amounts of alcohol that are consumed over a long period of time tend to produce a lower blood alcohol level because the slow consumption gives the liver time to eliminate what is being absorbed. Conversely, large amounts of alcohol consumed over a short period of time can cause the pyloric valve to seize, thus delaying absorption. Since social drinking usually involves the consumption of alcohol over a longer period of time, persons who drink socially tend to have a faster absorption time.

Type and Strength of Alcohol

The absorption of alcohol can also vary depending on the type and strength of the alcohol. Beverages with a higher concentration of alcohol are usually absorbed at a slower rate than beverages with a lower concentration of alcohol, thus leading to a higher BAC. Alcoholic drinks high in sugar, such as sweet vermouth, tend to have a delayed absorption in comparison to other types of alcoholic beverages.

Cigarette Smoking

Because smoking cigarettes slows stomach emptying, persons who smoke a cigarette while consuming alcohol increase the amount of time it would normally take for the alcohol to be absorbed in the body. Thus, a person who smoked while drinking can have the same amount to drink as a person who did not smoke over the same period of time and still test with a higher BAC.

Contact our Redwood City DUI Lawyer

If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, contact Silveira Law at (415) 795-3890 to discuss your case with our experienced Redwood City DUI attorney.