How Long Does Alcohol Take to Leave Your System?

How Long Does Alcohol Take to Leave Your System?

May 15, 2019

There’s extensive misinformation and many misconceptions regarding the way the human body processes and metabolizes alcohol. For instance, many people believe eating a meal or drinking a cup of coffee will reduce their blood alcohol content (BAC) and help them sober up. It just doesn’t work that way!

It’s important to possess a thorough understanding of the way the body processes alcohol in case you ever find yourself facing charges involving intoxication. Your lawyer in Cincinnati, OH, can also help you learn more about alcohol intoxication and the way it relates to the law, particularly traffic laws.

Alcohol Absorption

Unlike food, the stomach doesn’t perform most of the processing when you consume alcohol. After some minimal processing, alcohol goes straight to the liver, where it’s absorbed and processed. In the liver, a special enzyme begins breaking alcohol down and metabolizing it.

The speed at which your liver breaks alcohol down depends on your age, health, gender, weight and a host of other factors. In general, however, most adult men are able to process alcohol at a rate of one drink per hour. This means your BAC will fall back to its resting rate within an hour of consuming a single drink.

If you rapidly consume large amounts of alcohol, you may consume more than your liver is capable of metabolizing. If this is the case, the alcohol may start absorbing into the blood stream and surrounding muscle tissues. This is the cause of a serious condition commonly known as alcohol poisoning.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include excessive vomiting, clammy skin, slow heart rate and slow breathing. Alcohol poisoning is often fatal and it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible if you think you or someone else is experiencing it.

In addition to processing in the liver, roughly 10 percent of alcohol leaves the body in the form of urine, sweat and breath vapor.

How is Alcohol Tested?

There are a number of different tests law enforcement, employers and others may use to determine your alcohol usage.

A Breathalyzer is a common tool law enforcement officers use to measure BAC. Breathalyzers pick up alcohol consumed within the last 12 hours, and are capable of accurately rendering your body’s BAC. Portable and effective, Breathalyzers are commonly used in traffic stops.

Blood tests are among the most accurate way to measure alcohol content. To measure BAC using a blood test, however, the test must be administered within six hours of consumption.

Saliva and urine tests may also be administered by some law enforcement agencies. Hair tests indicate alcohol use within the past 90 days, and may be used by addiction treatment centers.

Herzner Law, LLC is a trusted lawyer in Cincinnati, OH, specializing in defending against a range of criminal charges and traffic charges. If you’re facing charges relating to intoxication, reach out to one of our highly qualified legal experts. We’ll help you battle any charges you may be facing.

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