Will Coffee Sober a Drunk Person Up?

By Jonathan Blecher on December 16, 2015

If you’re like most people, when you tried to sober someone up, you did one of two things: 1) you threw them in a cold shower, or 2) you gave them a strong cup of coffee. While you might have tried the cold shower trick, you probably learned that it’s a lot easier to get a drunk person to drink a cup of coffee than it is to forcibly throw them into the shower.

Does drinking coffee really sober a drunk person up? After all, it seems like everybody does this, and it does seem to make a difference. Studies on drinks, followed by several cups of coffee, and a series of hand/eye coordination tests came to one conclusion: coffee does zero, zip, zilch to “sober” someone up.

If you drink enough alcohol for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to reach .08% or above, no amount of coffee will improve your body’s ability to metabolize the alcohol faster, neither will taking an ice cold shower, nor will taking a dip in a lake in the dead of winter. I’m sorry to disappoint you!

Coffee ‘Tricks’ You Into Thinking You’re Sober

You might be saying, “Coffee must make me sober, I wake right up afterwards!” Now, you have a point, but it has nothing to do with BAC. Coffee can “trick” you into “thinking” that you’re sober when you’re not. This is because coffee is a stimulant, while alcohol is a depressant – and that’s a bad combination.

When you have coffee after drinking, it counteracts the sedative effects of the alcohol. Meaning, you can feel like it sobers you up, making you more willing to engage in dangerous activities like driving, but in fact you’re not out of the woods – you’re just a “wide awake” drunk.

Drinking coffee after consuming alcohol can take away the fatigue, tricking you into believing that you’re sober when you’re not.

Coffee’s not the only issue: You have the same problem if you mix vodka with energy drinks like Red Bull. When you drink vodka with an energy drink, you can think you’re sober, when in fact your BAC can be well-above Florida’s .08% legal limit.

So, remember, the next time you drink, no amount of coffee will affect your BAC, the only thing that will lower your BAC is time.

If you’re looking for a Miami DUI attorney, contact me at Jonathan Blecher, P.A. today!

Back To Blog