How do you know if you are safe to drive after drinking?

By Jonathan Blecher on May 16, 2022

You may have carefully calculated how much you drink before driving home without a problem for years. Then one day, the police pulled you over and asked you to perform a Breathalyzer test which you failed.

There are two possible scenarios. You may have been wrong all along about how much you could safely drink and only got this far because the police never stopped you before. Or, something could have caused you to read higher than usual on this one occasion.

Relating consumption to blood alcohol content (BAC) is not an exact science

The belief that you can calculate how much you can drink while still staying under the BAC limit is dangerous. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Not all measures are exact: If the bartender tipped too much into your glass, it could tip you over the limit. It is even more problematic at someone’s house, where less exact measurements are used. Do you know what size that wine glass is? Do you know how full you should fill it?
  • Not all drinks are the same: Take beer, for example. You normally drink Coors, which is around 4%, but tonight the bar has run out, so you drink Budweiser instead. Do you know that is 5% strength? Do you know how much less you need to drink to retain the same BAC content?
  • Not all bodies are the same: The ability to process alcohol is in part down to genetics and in part down to individual body factors. Look at how some people get drunk quicker than others.
  • Not all days are the same: You came in under the legal limit the last time you drank three beers and got tested. Do not assume it will be the same this time, as you may have drunk more water or eaten more food the last time.

You cannot escape a DUI by claiming you did not realize you had drunk enough to be over the limit. Instead, you will need legal help to explore other defense options that you may be able to use.

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