Daniel Hynes

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Different levels of alcohol intoxication

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Know the Different Levels of Alcohol Intoxication

Each year, thousands of New Hampshire citizens choose to consume alcohol and then get behind the wheel of their vehicles. The unfortunate reality is that only a tiny percentage of intoxicated motorists are actually caught by law enforcement officials.

Although it is fairly common knowledge that the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle in our state is .08%, many motorists are unaware of what this limit indicates and what the physical symptoms and signs of impairment are.

The Human Body & Alcohol – Signs of an Impaired Motorist

A blood alcohol content (BAC) test is designed to measure the amount of alcohol within a person’s body. Since alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, it will often show up in the human body within moments of having a single drink. A person’s BAC content will reach its highest peak approximately 30 minutes after a drink has been consumed. A BAC test measures the blood’s alcohol content and is generally expressed as a percentage. For example, a BAC reading of .06 translates to approximately .06% of an individual’s blood being alcoholic.

BAC .01 - .02%

Impairment from alcohol starts with the initial drink. At this particular level, an individual will become more relaxed, their ability to divide their attention between two different tasks is affected, and their ability to accurately judge distance and speed becomes impaired. Even after consuming a single drink, a motorist’s ability to effectively operate a motor vehicle begins to become compromised.

BAC .03 - .06%

After a person’s BAC level has reached the .03 - .06% range, alcohol’s effects start to become more pronounced. Common examples of these effects include increased talkativeness, decreased inhibition, mild euphoria, and more relaxation. One’s ability to concentrate is affected, as well as their visual perception. Reaction times start to slow, and a person starts to experience difficulty to responding to stimuli. It is as this point that a motorist’s ability to safely operate an automobile begins to become questionable.

BAC .06 - .09%

With a BAC at this level, blunted feelings, increased extroversion, and significant disinhibition become apparent. Hearing, balance, and speech being to become impaired. Self-control and the capacity for judgment are reduced, and most individuals believe they are operating more effectively than they actually are. It is at this point that most people become visually intoxicated, whether they realize it or not. To operate a vehicle at this point would most likely risk arrest for an NH DWI.

BAC .10 - .19%

At these levels, most individuals begin to over-express themselves, experience a decreased libido, and have emotional mood swings. Fine motor skills begin to disappear, people become more daring, and many experience trouble controlling their impulsive reactions. Reaction times and reflexes become even more impaired. Moreover, at this point is when most people begin staggering and slurring their speech. With a BAC this high, operating an automobile becomes exceptionally dangerous.

BAC .20 - .29%

Once a person reaches this level of intoxication, they experience a severe loss of understanding, start to lose the ability to feel physical sensations, and risk losing consciousness. For most people, they will simply just pass out suddenly. This is the point when most people experience what is commonly call “blackouts”. Between the increased likelihood of passing out and the significant loss of motor skills, operating a vehicle becomes flat out impossible.

After a person’s blood alcohol content surpasses .30% is when the permanent and most severe side effects of alcohol intoxication begin to take place. This is when a person will begin to lose control of their bladder functions and have severe depression of the central nervous system. There will be difficulties with breathing, and the human body has considerable difficulty controlling its heart rate. At .40% or higher, the human body becomes unconscious, and there is a considerable risk that they will stop breathing. Finally, if a person’s BAC level reaches .50% or higher, there is a significant risk for alcohol poisoning and even death.

In order to avoid a New Hampshire DWI, it is common sense to act with reason; however, when people are out having a good time with their friends, they often forget to act with care. It is equally important for New Hampshire citizens to be aware of the physical consequences that accompany excessive drinking. There is nothing wrong with having a good time; however, discretion should be practiced.

If you, or someone you know, has been arrested for a DWI in the state of New Hampshire, please contact our law offices today to have your case reviewed. Your initial consultation is free, and our experienced NH DWI lawyers will provide an honest assessment of your case and recommend an appropriate course of action. Time is of the utmost importance, so don’t delay.

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Guest Monday, 05 June 2023