How Alcohol Tolerance Develops
A driver may feel, and outwardly appear to be sober, but this does not necessarily indicate a blood alcohol level (BAC) that is below the legal limit. Your Orange County DUI lawyer can explain the many possible factors that contribute to alcohol tolerance, and how this affects your driving abilities and your case.
Various hypotheses have been proposed to explain alcohol tolerance.
- One hypothesis takes into account the mechanism of alcohol action on the membranes of cells.Nerve cell impulse transmission requires sodium and potassium channels that may have been interfered with by alcohol.The activity of the enzyme responsible for activating the sodium and potassium channels is then increased by alcohol consumption over long periods of time.This helps compensate for the interference of alcohol.
- One hypothesis states that when alcohol exposure occurs repeatedly, cell membranes become more rigid because the cell’s amount of saturated fat or the cholesterol content of the cell membrane has been increased.
- Another hypothesis states that when alcohol consumption is prolonged, neurotransmitters, GABA and serotonin, and brain alcohol dehydrogenase activity are all changed.
Whatever the mechanism behind alcohol tolerance, your Orange County DUI lawyer knows that one thing is clear: drinkers become desensitized to the effects of alcohol so that larger amounts are necessary to achieve the same effect as a previous time.Heavy drinkers may have more stimulant effects and less sedative and aversive subjective effects than beginner drinkers.
Alcoholics progress to tolerating alcohol at extremely high blood alcohol concentrations (BACs), even at levels usually considered to be potentially fatal.Even in the event some symptoms and signs of impairment are observed, for those individuals with high tolerance there is no real correlation between performance and BAC.
Your Orange County DUI lawyer knows that usually when drinkers with high tolerance have a BAC between 0.08% and 0.10%, they have less probability of an accident than infrequent drinkers at the same levels who have low tolerance.This means that between two drivers with the same exact BAC, the driver with the smallest daily consumption of alcohol will be more likely to have a driving accident.
If you have been charged with a DUI and have questions for an experienced Orange County DUI attorney, please contact Coffey and Coffey by calling (800) 706-7888.