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What Does BAC Stand For?

Chloe Meltzer | October 19, 2022

Legal Expert
Chloe Meltzer, MA

Chloe Meltzer is an experienced content writer specializing in legal content creation. She holds a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University, complemented by a Master’s in Marketing from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Summary: Here is SoloSuit's guide on everything you need to know about BAC.

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If you have ever had a few drinks and gone to drive your car, the worst thing that could happen is to be pulled over by a police officer. If this has happened to you, then you might have faced some serious problems. Additionally, you may have heard the officers mention the term “BAC”. If your BAC is too high, you might face a drinking and driving alcohol charge, but what does BAC stand for?

What does BAC stand for?

BAC stands for blood alcohol concentration, which is also known as blood alcohol content. It is usually abbreviated and referred to as BAC. It is the percentage of alcohol that you have in your bloodstream.

Like we said, if you are caught driving at a certain BAC level, you can be arrested and charged for DUI. In most states, driving with a BAC level of .08 is illegal.

What determines a BAC

There are several factors that might determine a BAC. For example:

  • Weight
  • Gender
  • How much alcohol has been consumed
  • Period of time the alcohol was consumed
  • Medications that might affect how the body metabolizes alcohol


BrAC is a person's breath alcohol concentration. It is measured by breathing into a breathalyzer or any similar breath tester. However, most devices measuring BrAC, convert it automatically into a BAC.

Although it may not make sense right away, the reason a breathalyzer can figure out the BAC is that your blood passes through your lungs in order to provide it with oxygen. Your blood has alcohol in it, and therefore, the alcohol evaporates when you breathe and is let out through the mouth. This is the same reason why alcohol can be smelled on the breath.

Once you exhale, the breathalyzer uses sensors to analyze the air that is filled with alcohol. First, your BrAC is measured, and it is then converted into a BAC measurement.

How to convert BrAC to BAC

The ratio between BrAC and BAC is 2100:1. This means that for every 2100 milliliters of air in the breath, it will have the same alcohol content as one milliliter of blood in the body. The number expressed for BAC is in grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. The difference with BrAC is that it is often expressed as the number of milligrams of alcohol in one liter of air.

Although BAC and BrAC can be used interchangeably, BAC is more commonly used. In fact, BrAC is usually only used when referring to breathalyzer test results.

Both BAC and BrAC are reliable measurements. However, a breathalyzer test is usually given by a police officer who can quickly determine if someone is too impaired to drive. In order to obtain a BAC, the driver would usually be taken to the hospital for a blood test. BrAC would be done with a handheld device.

The BAC scale

The BAC scale level is the method of seeing if someone is intoxicated. It is usually the first line of defense when it comes to a drinking and driving case in court. The BAC is usually taken with a breathalyzer because the alcohol levels in a person's breath also display the level of alcohol in the blood. The BAC scale includes:

  • BAC .001 – .029: Light impairment and floaty feeling
  • BAC .03 – .059: Diminished concentration, easily distracted
  • BAC .06 – .099: Lowered or impaired reasoning, visual processing is slower and it is more difficult to adjust to glare, and ability to adjust to light glare
  • BAC .1 – .199: Dramatically slowed reflexes, response time, and gross motor skills are slower, as well as speaking may be slurred
  • BAC .2 – .299: Severe loss of motor skills, blacking out, memory loss
  • BAC .3 or higher: Emergency room required, severe risk of respiratory compromise or poisoning death

How to measure BAC

Carrying a breathalyzer is not always an option. However, there are many things that affect your BAC, such as stress, how much food has been eaten, and what type of alcohol was consumed. These cannot predict each individual's health and wellness as well. The only true way to measure BAC is to take a breathalyzer test. In addition, if you have doubts about driving, then you should not do so.

Alternatives to drinking and driving

When you drink and drive, you dramatically increase the chances of seriously injuring yourself and others. Instead of drinking and driving, consider calling an Uber, Lyft, taxi, or a friend to pick you up. Additionally, you can prepare ahead of time so that you always have someone you can call. You could also ask someone to give you a ride if it feels safe.

If you do not have the option to call someone, simply stay where you are until you are sober. If you are not sure whether or not you feel good to drive, wait longer.

The most important thing to remember is not to sit in the seat of your car while you are sobering up. If you are seated, you can be considered an operator of a car. Even if the car is not on, you can still be charged with a DUI.

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