Perhaps you have grown accustomed to driving after enjoying a beer or two and never worry about law enforcement stopping you. However, it will only take one drunk driving conviction to dramatically change your life. Understanding more about the way alcohol affects you may help you avoid an arrest for DUI.

About blood alcohol concentration

Blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, refers to the amount of alcohol in your system, which determines your level of intoxication. In general terms, consuming one standard alcoholic drink will result in a BAC of 0.02 percent. Although the effect is different for everyone, weight and gender are factors that help determine intoxication levels.

After one drink

After having one alcoholic drink, a man who weighs 200 pounds will have a BAC of 0.02 percent. It will take two hours for his blood alcohol concentration level to return to 0.00. A man who weighs 150 pounds will have a BAC of 0.03 percent. He, too, will need two hours for the BAC to return to 0.00.

After three drinks

A man who weighs 200 pounds and consumes three standard drinks will have a BAC level of 0.06 percent, but a 150-pound man will have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08. He will need five hours for his BAC level to return to 0.00, but the heavier man will only require four hours. The effects of alcohol on the body become more pronounced at the three-drink stage, at which point judgment, perception, coordination and decision-making abilities become impaired.

Facing penalties

Law enforcement officers in Cuyahoga County want to keep drunk drivers off the road. If you are a first offender convicted of DUI or OVI, you can expect a fine of up to $1,075, possible jail time and driver’s license suspension for a period of six months to three years. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, the court could order an ignition interlock device for your vehicle as well as restricted license plates. There are legal options, including various motions and hearings that could result in your acquittal, or at least a reduction in charges. Still, if you understand how alcohol affects you given your gender and weight, you may not drink and drive in the first place.