Criminal Defense in Orange County

Factors That Could Affect Alcohol Absorption

When constructing your defense, your Orange County DUI attorney may consider the rate of your alcohol absorption. Alcohol that has been ingested but has yet to be absorbed has no neurological effects and will not impair your ability to drive. Just because you consumed alcohol does not mean that you were intoxicated; however, some tests will detect alcohol before it has actually been absorbed. Your body's metabolism is a very complicated process that can be affected by numerous different factors that the prosecution might not have considered. If your body had not absorbed the alcohol that you consumed at the time of your DUI arrest, it may not matter what you drank.

How Food Can Affect Alcohol Absorption

Food, in particular, affects how alcohol is absorbed, as well as the rate at which it is passed. On an empty stomach, alcohol is generally absorbed into the blood stream between fifteen minutes and two-and-a-half hours. This rate changes significantly with even a moderate intake of food, nearly doubling, from thirty minutes (at the low end) to three hours (at the high end). With a full stomach, this rate is higher yet, from three to six hours. When you eat while drinking alcohol, the food acts like a sponge and thereby delays alcohol absorption into the bloodstream. This so-called stomach-emptying rate measures the time it takes for stomach contents to pass into the intestinal tract.

Since alcohol is absorbed mainly in the small intestine, its rate of absorption is thereby affected. In order to reach the small intestine, the alcohol digests with the food, among which it has been disbursed. The net effect is that less alcohol will be present in the bloodstream at any given time. The drinker ultimately experiences a lower peak alcohol level. The amount of time it takes the body to be cleared of alcohol is also shorter in this way. There are, of course, other factors that affect alcohol absorption, including things like genetics, gender, body composition, and ethnicity. However, the intake of food appears to be one of the most dynamic influences on alcohol absorption.

Other Factors That Can Affect Alcohol Absorption

Another major factor that could affect your rate of alcohol absorption is your gender. Women tend to be more affected by alcohol than men, due to the difference in body mass and composition between the sexes. Studies have also shown that women tend to have less alcohol dehydrogenase, which is the enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the body. As a result, women tend to absorb alcohol faster, and alcohol often stays in their systems longer.

Another factor that may affect alcohol absorption is any gastrointestinal conditions that you may have. These conditions could be caused by diseases such as bacterial gastritis, gastric ulcers, or stomach or intestinal cancer. Some stomach problems can even be caused by psychological states such as stress. These conditions have all been shown to inhibit the body's ability to process alcohol. Gastric bypass surgery, which is used to treat obesity by reducing the volume of the stomach and small intestine, can also dramatically accelerate the normal absorption of alcohol.

Studies have found that blood alcohol actually rose significantly higher and faster in gastric bypass patients. Among some of the other factors that can affect alcohol absorption are trauma, shock, and fear. These factors can restrict the blood flow to your stomach and small intestine as your body diverts the blood to other parts of your body that need it more. The contents of your digestive system will move through your body much slower than normal under these circumstances.

Let Us Defend You Against a DUI Conviction

Your alcohol absorption might come into play if there is a significant disparity between your chemical test results and the impairment you actually felt while driving. Your Orange County DUI defense lawyer may argue that because of factors affecting your alcohol absorption, you were much less impaired than your test results suggest. To maximize your chances of getting an acquittal, you need an attorney who can fight for you and be your advocate in the courtroom.

If you do not yet have legal representation and are facing a criminal trial, do not hesitate to call The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs today. Your initial consultation is free.