While many might be unaware of alcohol's effects on the human body and its absorption rate over time, most might be shocked to realize that depending upon their body's rate of absorption and other physical and/or clinical factors, it is highly plausible for an individual to have a blood alcohol content/concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, several hours since their having their last drink.
There have been individuals charged and even convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) due to their having a BAC of .08% while on their way to work or school the morning after having been out all night drinking. Essentially meaning, due to the amount of alcohol you consumed the night before, how the alcohol affects the body, and depending on its rate of absorption, you might go home and sleep, yet awake the next morning still legally too drunk to drive. Even though you display absolutely no signs of being under the influence or exhibit any intoxicated behavior at all.
How Alcohol Affects the Body
When you drink alcohol, it of course travels to the stomach where your body immediately begins to absorb its key active ingredient, ethanol, into the bloodstream. Yet alcohol's primary inactive ingredient is water. Therefore, the stomach might have a hard time holding the alcohol long enough for the ethanol to absorb completely as it wants to flow through to your body's small intestine.
So much of this depends upon your stomach's other contents. If you have eaten plenty, the alcohol might linger in the stomach longer. If you have an empty stomach, the liquid ethanol containing alcohol will shoot straight down into the small intestine almost unabated. There, the absorption rate escalates considerably. It absorbs through your intestinal walls so quickly and travels toward the brain so fast, that the enzymes our body sends to destroy the toxin don't have enough time to do so.
The more a person drinks, the more alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream and up to the brain. Along its way, the ethanol begins invading cells and inhibiting their surrounding proteins. These proteins are the levers behind certain physical/mental actions the alcohol affects in the human body. Such as the eye proteins that begin causing you to have blurred vision, the muscle proteins that cause you to be unable to coordinate your movement, and also affect your brain's ability to think clearly.
Alcohol's Absorption Rate
Depending on how much alcohol you drank, it might take a while for the effects of alcohol to wear off enough for you to appear and act sober again. However, it could take quite a bit longer for your BAC to be that of a sober person.
For instance, if you weigh roughly 185 pounds, are male, and from 10 pm – 3 am you drank 12 beers and say 4 shots of a spirit such as vodka or whiskey. Your BAC at 3 am might register 0.24% and three times the legal limit to drive! Because alcohol is a liquid and capable of collecting throughout your body, it will take longer for your body to absorb all the alcohol than it will for your brain and cells to go to work properly again.
Although at 8 am the next morning you may feel and look fine, your body may have only absorbed half the alcohol concentration. Meaning although you don't show it, your BAC could still be as high as .10% or more! Effectively being high enough for you to be charged with DUI in California!
Though extremely complex, an attorney who is experienced in challenging California DUI cases can often argue absorption rate issues such as how much you had to eat that slowed down the rate of absorption, your body weight, and even your body's metabolism. By effectively arguing that you were of clear mind and essentially much more sober than your body's slow rate of alcohol absorption displayed through BAC results, it is extremely possible you could win your California DUI case.