In California, it is illegal for you to drive if your blood alcohol content level is at or above 0.08%, explains the Governors Highway Safety Association. If a law enforcement official pulls you over for intoxicated driving, you could face charges and penalties for DUI if your BAC level is at or higher than this legal limit. 

While consuming alcoholic beverages, you may try to estimate your BAC level to prevent a DUI arrest and the associated consequences. However, this is difficult to do because many factors can affect the alcohol content level within your bloodstream. 

Food 

Consume alcohol on an empty stomach and your BAC level will be higher than if you had eaten before drinking. When you have food in your stomach, it slows how quickly your bloodstream absorbs the alcohol. 

Age 

The older you get, the more alcohol will affect your BAC level, which can make it harder to avoid DUI penalties as you age. 

Gender 

Compared with men, women usually have less water content in their bodies. Since alcohol is extremely water soluble, women will typically reach a higher BAC level compared with men who drink the same amount of alcohol at a similar rate. 

Emotional state 

Stress can slow down how quickly alcohol absorbs into your bloodstream. This occurs because stress can divert the blood in your small intestines and stomach to your muscles. With a reduction in stress, your blood will start to flow at a normal rate and your BAC level will begin to rise faster in comparison. 

Other factors 

Other factors that can affect the rate at which your BAC level rises include how quickly you consume the alcohol, the strength of the alcoholic beverages you drink and how much muscle you have in your body. Prescription drugs, cold medicine and allergy pills can also impact how quickly your bloodstream absorbs alcohol when you drink.