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How fast does the body metabolize alcohol?

Throughout your life, you have likely heard how registering a blood-alcohol content reading greater than .08 on a roadside sobriety test in Roanoke automatically indicates that you are guilty of driving under the influence. Why, then, will law enforcement officials often conduct a more thorough chemical test later on? Could it be because the results of a handheld breath measurement are not totally reliable? Indeed, many states have determined that the results of such tests are not admissible in DUI cases due to the large margin of error associated with such equipment. 

Law enforcement officials might claim that registering a .08 BAC reading on a handheld device and then having a much lower result on s subsequent test simply means that your body metabolized the alcohol in your system in the time between the tests. If you understand how quickly (or slowly) the body metabolizes alcohol, challenging such an assertion becomes much easier. 

Alcohol is metabolized in your liver, and a general “rule of thumb” is that your body can metabolize one standard drink every hour. According to information shared by Brown University, one standard drink equates to .15 BAC content. Thus, it is at that rate that your BAC should lower over time. A better grasp of this idea comes with understanding how much constitutes a standard drink. Typically, such a drink is considered to be a 12-ounce beer, which is equal to five ounces of wine, eight to nine ounces of malt liquor, or a single 1.5-ounce shot of tequila, vodka, gin, whiskey or rum. 

Given this information, you can then see how it might be improbable for your blood alcohol to go from .08 (as measured by a handheld device) to .02 in just a couple of hours. This may lead to questioning how far off the initial measurement actually was.