Blood Alcohol Level: Meaning, Risks, Legal Limits

Blood alcohol concentration refers to the level of alcohol in the bloodstream of an individual. If the BAC is 10% means that an individual’s blood supply contains one part of alcohol for every 1000 parts of blood.

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Drinking while sharing life experiences is one of the most common activities that we do to catch up with our family, friends, and other loved ones. Although our primary motive is to have fun and memorable times, there are instances in which these happy moments result in accidents and life-threatening situations. The question now is how do we keep ourselves safe after we had a good time and drank several wines, beers, and other alcoholic beverages with our friends. This is where blood alcohol concentration tests come in handy.

Blood alcohol test kits are helpful as we don’t want to be put to a breathalyzer test by a police officer or worse be recovered out of a car accident. Although there are various kinds of alcohol tests available in the market, every test has the same purpose. This is to assess the blood alcohol level in our body.

How do we know if we have normal or we go above the limit? Read on as we are to discuss and answer some questions related to blood alcohol level meaning, risks associated with a certain level, and limits as dictated by the law.

Too Much Blood Alcohol Concentration: What Does It Mean?

Most blood alcohol tests show numbers after you have collected and analyzed your blood samples. These numbers are important to know if your alcohol intake has already started to affect your control, judgment, and other actions. Here is a quick run-through of what the BAC test result means.

Let’s begin with the lowest to highest result.

  1. When the test result is 0.03, then this means that dizziness is starting to creep into you. Even though you feel that you are in control, the truth is that you are having a hard time with your vision and judgment as compared to when there is no alcohol running through your veins.
  2. What does a 0.05 result mean? The test result of this shows that you not that conscious and alert enough. Having this BAC means that you are not to drive as you have trouble focusing, steering, and reacting immediately.
  3. Having 0.08 to 0.10 results show that a person is drunk. The trouble with talking, balancing, seeing things straight are the problems that you will encounter. In addition to these, self-control and judgment calls will also be a challenge.

As for those who have 0.10 results, expect an effect on your language. Having slur words is a sign that a person has this blood alcohol level.

Finally, the blood alcohol levels reaching 0.20 and 0.40 are the riskiest of all. Blacking out, throwing up, and being too confused are the signs. Worst case scenario having 0.40 of BAC can put your life at risk or put you in a state of coma.

Learning all the meanings and risks associated with each result is essential to save your and your friend’s or family’s lives. As a word of caution from many experts, no one should just guess or estimate their alcohol depending on how they are feeling. Your guess can be wrong and the effects are too dangerous for us to risk.

Identifying the Legal Limits for Blood Alcohol Concentration

Now that we have tackled the risks and BAC result meanings, we must cover the legal limits. Avoiding police calls and detentions are just a secondary benefit from knowing this. What matters is that by learning the legal limits, we are sure that our lives are safe even after a full night of happy drinking sessions with other people.

Many young people have lost lives due to drunk driving. Defined as the act of using a vehicle with a lack of ability or impaired actions or judgment due to severe alcohol consumption, drunk driving varies from one state to another. The limitations are different based on states, ages of drivers and the type of vehicle one operates. Let us have a closer look at the more general legal limitations affecting drunk driving.


The California law states 0.08% as the limit. People who are tested to reach this level are not allowed to drive. This is similar to other states. However, for those in California and were granted commercial driver’s licenses or rideshare ones, the state sets the limit to 0.04%. Above all, people age below 21 should not drive if their BAC is 0.01%.

North Carolina

Similar to California and many states in the country, the limit is 0.08% for all drivers and 0.04% for those with CDL. The difference is that people below 21 are not allowed to drive if they consume any amount or possess an alcoholic drink.


As for the people driving in Nevada below 21 of age, 0.02% is the set limit. The 0.08% level is also the general limit. Officers in the state are also authorized to conduct mandatory blood testing if they suspect a driver to be driving under the influence of alcohol or other illegal chemicals. If found to be drunk driving, the person will be convicted.


In the past decades, the limit set in Wisconsin is around 0.10% to 0.15%. Over time, the number of drunk driving incidents has increased. This resulted in the state government tightening their laws about drunk driving. From 0.10%, the limit in Wisconsin is not aligned with other states, which are 0.08%. First offenders are also treated as a municipal offense in the area.


Drivers in Ohio should be cautious when they had taken some alcoholic beverages. The state has the right to suspend their licenses even in their first drunk driving offense for a year. They can only start driving after around six months given that they have an ignition device that ensures that their blood alcohol concentration is within the limit before they start the car.

These are just a few laws governing drunk driving. Remember to put your safety first at all times. Do not forget to test your blood alcohol levels before driving. Much more, do not attempt to operate a vehicle if your BAC is above the limit.

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