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Blood Alcohol Content-How Drunk Are You?

Blood alcohol content (BAC) or blood alcohol concentration is the concentration of alcohol in blood. It is usually measured as mass per volume or the weight of the alcohol in a volume of blood. 

For example, a BAC of 0.02% means 0.2 (per mil which is a tenth of a percent or one part per thousand) or 0.02 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of individual's blood, or 0.2 grams of alcohol per 1000 grams of blood.

A BAC rating of 0.20% represents very serious intoxication (most first-time drinkers would be unconscious by about 0.15%) and 0.35% represents potentially fatal alcohol poisoning. 0.40% is the medically accepted lethal dose for 50% of adult humans. The 50% to survive are likely long-time, heavy drinkers.

The BAC limit is the maximum amount of alcohol that can be consumed by a driver before it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle on a public road.

To see how different drinks and eating different food over varying periods of time affect males or females of varying body weights, use the blood alcohol content BAC calculators

Progressive Effects of Alcohol
BAC (%) Behavior Impairment


  • Average individual appears
  • Subtle effects
    detected with tests
  • Mild euphoria
  • Sense of well-being
  • Relaxation
  • Talkativeness
  • Joyous
  • Decreased inhibition
  • Alertness
  • Judgment
  • Coordination
  • Concentration
  • Blunted Feelings
  • Disinhibition
  • Extroversion
  • Sexual Pleasure
  • Reflexes
  • Reasoning
  • Depth Perception
  • Distance Acuity
  • Peripheral Vision
  • Glare Recovery
  • Over-Expression
  • Emotional Swings
  • Angry or Sad
  • Boisterous
  • Reaction Time
  • Gross Motor Control
  • Staggering
  • Slurred Speech
  • Stupor
  • Lose Understanding
  • Impaired Sensations
  • Severe Motor Impairment
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Memory Blackout
  • Severe Depression
  • Unconsciousness
  • Death Possible
  • Bladder Function
  • Breathing
  • Heart Rate
  • Unconsciousness
  • Death
  • Breathing
  • Heart Rate


A standard drink consists of:

  1. 12-ounce bottle or can of regular beer;
  2. 5-ounce glass of regular (dinner) wine; and
  3. 1 ounce drink of 80 proof (40%) distilled spirits or liquor (either straight or in a mixed drink).

Alcoholic proof is a measure of how much alcohol (ethanol) is in an alcoholic beverage.  Proof is twice the percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV).

Standard Drink Chart (US)
Alcohol Amount in ml Amount in fl. oz. Amount Alcohol % by vol. Alcohol in ml
80 proof liquor 44 ml 1.25 oz 1 small shot 40 18
beer 355 ml 12 oz 1 can 4.5 18
table wine 148 ml 5 oz 1 small glass 10 18


Alcohol & Drinking Resources:

Blood Alcohol (BAC) Calculators:

These blood alcohol calculators only provide estimates because alcohol affects different people differently.

If you are learning about blood alcohol content and how much alcohol is in a drink only after you have been drinking, driving and arrested for DWI or DUI, get a free consultation with a DWI Lawyer or DUI Lawyer.

Next article: How Much Will a DUI Arrest Cost?