Understanding Alcohol in a Utah DUI

Alcohol’s Relationship to a Utah DUI

Everyone knows that a DUI, or drunk driving, is caused by alcohol impairment, but it is important to understand how alcohol affects the body so that you can better understand a DUI.  A good Utah DUI lawyer, like those at Salcido Law Firm, will understand all aspects of DUI defense, including the science behind drunk driving charges.

The Impairing Ingredient of Alcoholic Beverages

Alcohol is actually a name that applies to a number of chemicals that contain an element known as a hydroxy radical, which contains one part oxygen and one part hydrogen.  Not all alcohols can be consumed.  In fact, only one alcohol is actually meant for consumption, which is known as an ethanol, which includes wood alcohol and rubbing alcohol.  Ethanol is also the active ingredient in beverage alcohols.  Thus, it is the ethanol that causes impairment which causes a DUI.

Alcohol’s Effect on the Body

Ethanol depresses the central nervous system and it affects the central nervous system by getting into the blood, which then travels to the brain, which causes impairment and the DUI.  Thus, if you inhale ethanol fumes you could potentially become impaired, but that is unlikely because it is difficult to inhale enough ethanol to cause impairment.  The most typical way that ethanol is able to get into your body and impair you is by drinking it.

How Alcohol Gets in the Blood

The ethanol from alcohol gets into the blood through absorption, which is a term applied to the process of alcohol being absorbed through the walls of the stomach and the small intestine.  The emptier the stomach the quicker the absorption.  Thus, alcohol does not have to be digested to enter the blood stream.  It enters it the moment it hits the stomach, depending on the amount of food in the stomach.  That is how someone can become a drunk driver so quickly and get cited for a DUI.

How Alcohol is Distributed in the Body

Alcohol is attracted to water.  What this means is that as the blood stream carries the alcohol throughout the body it deposits the alcohol in parts of the body that have high concentrations of water.  The brain has a very high content of water, which means alcohol is deposited there by the blood in larger amounts than in other parts of the body.  Thus, someone becomes drunk and can be arrested for DUI because the ethanol impairs the brain.

How Alcohol is Eliminated in the Body

Alcohol cannot be eliminated quickly.  Only about 2% to 10% can be eliminated by leaving the body through bodily fluids such as sweat, tears, and urine.  The rest of the alcohol must be eliminated through metabolism.  Everyone’s metabolism is different when it comes to burning away alcohol.  Men can typically eliminate alcohol much quicker than women, but it still takes hours to metabolize alcohol.  Thus, you can be impaired for hours, which means you can get a DUI for some time after you stop drinking.

Have You Been Charged with a Utah DUI?

If you have been charged with a DUI in Utah, contact the Utah DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers at Salcido Law Firm.  Our knowledge and experience with DUIs is exactly what you will need to adequately defend yourself.  Contact us by phone, 801.618.1334
or email to set up a free consultation.

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