Wisconsin DUI Alcohol Tolerance Issues

If you’re facing a DUI trial, it will be helpful for you to first understand all aspects of your case, including the nature of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC levels are often used to gauge driving intoxication. In this article, the Milwaukee DUI lawyers at Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. will explain why BAC levels, especially among people with high alcohol tolerance, may not really correlate with intoxication.

Developing Alcohol Tolerance

There are actually several hypotheses that offer an explanation as to how alcohol tolerance develops.

According to one hypothesis, alcohol interferes with the sodium and potassium channels in the cellular membrane that are needed for nerve cell impulses. If alcohol is continuously consumed over a long period of time, the enzymes that are responsible for activating the sodium and potassium channels will get used to working in overdrive in order to compensate for the alcohol interference.

There’s another hypothesis that says that continuous alcohol interferences makes the cell membranes become more rigid because of the increase saturated fat levels in the cell or the increased cholesterol level in the cell membrane.

Another hypothesis says that continuous alcohol consumption significantly alters the way that neurotransmitter, GABA and serotonin, and brain alcohol dehydrogenase function.

What happens as a result of alcohol tolerance?

Once your body gains tolerance for alcohol, you become desensitized to the effect of alcohol. You will need a greater dose of alcohol to get the same effects as you could have gotten from smaller doses at a prior time.

Heavy drinkers may get greater stimulant-like reactions while at the same time experiencing less of the sedative-like and adverse side effects that are common in novice drinkers. In fact, alcoholics become increasingly tolerant of alcohol at higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels, including levels that are potentially deadly.

There has been one study that showed that out of 54 subjects who had BACs of 0.20% or more, 24% of them did not show any signs of clinical intoxication. Another study showed that out of 32 subjects, 53% had BACs over 0.30% but showed very little signs of clinical intoxication.

Thus, despite having outward signs or symptoms of driving impairment, there’s no direct connection between people who have high alcohol tolerance and a high BAC level.

People with high alcohol tolerance, or heavy drinkers, have a lower probability of getting into accidents at BACs of 0.08% to 0.10% than do infrequent drinkers at the same BAC levels.

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, do not hesitate to contact the experienced Milwaukee DUI lawyers at Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. Simply fill out the form on this page to schedule a free initial consultation.