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The legal driving limit for a person’s blood alcohol content is .08, but not everyone knows exactly what that means. So, we thought we would break down BAC for our readers to get a better idea of the levels of impairment and how they correlate with BAC. Bear in mind that there is no set definition for how many drinks it takes to pass the legal limit; it is different for everyone. Body weight, gender, alcohol habits and more can increase or decrease the number of drinks it takes a person to reach .08 BAC.
  • 0.02-0.03 BAC: Slight euphoria. Shy people may find that they are more open. Relaxation, perhaps lightheadedness
  • 0.04-0.06 BAC: Feelings of well-being, relaxation, lowered inhibitions and warmth. Emotional highs and lows are more intense. Reasoning and memory are affected, lowered sense of caution (Hold my beer!)
  • 0.07-0.09 BAC: Slightly impaired balance, speech, vision, reaction time and hearing. Euphoria. Reduced judgment and self-control, more impairment of caution, reason and memory. You may think you are less drunk than you actually are, but legally, this is the point where you can be charged for drunk driving
  • 0.10-0.125 BAC: Impairment of coordination and judgment is significant. Slurred speech, impaired balance, vision, reaction time and hearing
  • 0.13-0.15 BAC: Motor skills are failing, lack of physical control. Blurred or double vision, loss of balance. Euphoria turns to anxiety and restlessness. Judgment harshly impaired
  • 0.16-0.19 BAC: Dysphoria, nausea. At this point, you’d be considered “sloppy,” or a “hot mess.”
  • 0.20 BAC: Dazed and confused. You may need help standing or walking. You may not feel pain. Nausea, vomiting and blackouts are common at this level.
  • 0.25 BAC: All functions severely impaired. This is over three times the legal limit for driving
Going beyond 0.25 increases your risk of serious harm. If you are going to drink, pace yourself! Alcohol metabolizes at a predictable rate of about .016 BAC per hour, and there is no way to accelerate the process. DUI Matters – Denver Drunk Driving Lawyers

Understanding Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): Impairment Levels and Legal Limits for Responsible Drinking and Driving

The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) while operating a vehicle is .08 in most states, including Colorado. However, the concept of BAC and its implications may not be clear to everyone. We believe that breaking down BAC levels and their associated impairments can provide our readers with a better understanding of the effects of alcohol consumption and its relationship to legal limits.

It’s important to note that the number of drinks required to reach a specific BAC can vary significantly from person to person. Various factors, such as body weight, gender, drinking habits, and individual tolerance levels, can influence how alcohol affects an individual’s BAC.

Here is a breakdown of BAC levels and their corresponding impairments:

  1. 0.02-0.03 BAC: individuals may experience a slight sense of euphoria at this level. Shy individuals may become more friendly and relaxed. Some may feel lightheaded.
  2. 0.04-0.06 BAC: Feelings of well-being and relaxation intensify. Inhibitions decrease, and individuals may experience emotional highs and lows more intensely. Reasoning and memory are affected, and caution is reduced. This is the point where some people might say, “Hold my beer!”
  3. 0.07-0.09 BAC: Balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing become slightly impaired. Euphoria continues, but judgment and self-control are reduced. Caution, reasoning, and memory are further impaired. Legally, this is the threshold for drunk driving charges.
  4. 0.10-0.125 BAC: Impairment of coordination and judgment becomes significant. Speech becomes slurred, balance is impaired, and vision, reaction time, and hearing are affected.
  5. 0.13-0.15 BAC: Motor skills deteriorate further, resulting in a lack of physical control. Vision may become blurred or double, and balance is lost. Euphoria may turn into anxiety and restlessness, and judgment is severely impaired.
  6. 0.16-0.19 BAC: Dysphoria, accompanied by nausea, becomes prominent. Individuals at this level may be perceived as “sloppy” or a “hot mess.”
  7. 0.20 BAC: Individuals become dazed and confused, often requiring assistance with standing or walking. Pain perception decreases, and nausea, vomiting, and blackouts are common.
  8. 0.25 BAC: All functions are severely impaired, and this level is over three times the legal limit for driving. Going beyond 0.25 significantly increases the risk of serious harm.

It’s crucial to understand that alcohol metabolizes in the body at an average rate of about .016 BAC per hour, and there is no way to accelerate this process. Therefore, pacing oneself while drinking and allowing time for the body to metabolize alcohol is essential to avoid reaching high BAC levels.


In conclusion, being aware of your BAC and its associated impairments is vital for responsible alcohol consumption, especially if you plan to drive. Exceeding the legal limit can lead to serious legal consequences, including DUI charges. Suppose you find yourself facing DUI charges or related legal issues in Colorado. In that case, it is crucial to seek legal assistance from experienced professionals like Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, who specialize in alcohol and drug-related driving offenses. Their expertise can help navigate the complexities of DUI cases and potentially mitigate the consequences associated with high BAC levels. Stay informed and make responsible choices when it comes to alcohol consumption and driving.

Do you have further questions or concerns? Call us or contact the attorneys at Thomas & Ahnell, LLC, and we will be happy to help.

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