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The signs of intoxication at different BACs

Blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, is the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream. In New York, you are legally drunk if you have a BAC of at least 0.08%. There are various factors that determine BAC levels:

  • The number of drinks
  • The type of drinks
  • How quickly drinks are consumed
  • Body weight
  • Biological sex
  • Medications

But how do BAC percentages look in real life? While it may vary from person to person, here are the signs of intoxication at different BAC levels.

0.02% to 0.07%

Mild impairment is the lowest level of intoxication. You may feel relaxed and warmer. Your memory and judgment may be slightly impaired at this stage.

0.08% to 0.14%

This is the legal limit of drunkenness in New York. If chemical tests show you have a BAC of at least 0.08%, you may face DWI charges. This is because you begin to have an impairment of all skills necessary for driving. Your speech, reaction times and balance begin to get worse. It may be difficult for you to focus on objects and concentrate. You may also experience short term memory loss.

0.15% to 0.2%

At this level, you will have a harder time balancing to the point where you may fall and get injured. You may find it difficult to talk coherently. Nausea and vomiting usually begin at these high BAC levels.

0.2% to 0.3%

You may feel numb on various levels. You will experience significant changes in your mental, physical and sensory processing. You are at a high risk of choking on your vomit, experiencing amnesia and losing consciousness.

0.31% and higher

This is an immediately life-threatening level of intoxication. It is common to lose consciousness or even fall into a coma with an alarmingly high BAC. Death because of respiratory failure may occur.