As many people have discovered the hard way, you can’t always know when a great night will turn into a nightmare after you misjudge your ability to operate a vehicle after drinks. It really doesn’t take that much to be considered over the legal limit. Additionally, your tolerance can actually change from day to day, depending on a number of different factors.
California state law marks the over-the-limit blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at 0.08%. So, what exactly does this mean, and how does it translate into your ability to get home safely? Here are some facts about drinking and driving you may not know. Keep these elements in mind before you put the keys in the ignition next time you’re out on the town:
A Good Rule
If you’re trying to gauge the way your body is processing the alcohol you’ve consumed, think about how many drinks you’ve had in total (this includes beer, wine, shots, and any other form of alcohol) divided by the number of hours you’ve been drinking. In terms of the rate at which your body metabolizes alcohol, a good rule is one drink per hour, where one drink equals
- 2 fluid ounces (or ¼ cup) of a glass of wine;
- Half a pint of 4% beer or cider;
- 1 fluid ounce of 40% alcohol volume hard liquor.
Bear in mind that the alcohol content in liquor and beer can dramatically alter this equation. For example, a 3.2% light pilsner should metabolize within the aforementioned one-hour time; an imperial IPA that’s 11%, on the other hand, will fall well outside of the bounds of the one-hour guideline.
Related: Safety Tips for California Drivers
Alcohol content is not the only element that can contribute to an over-the-limit status. In fact, there are a number of external factors that could impair your judgement or bring your BAC to levels above 0.08%, and each of these attributes could affect your body differently from day to day.
It’s important to be mindful of the different factors that play into how alcohol is processed in your body so you can best gauge your ability to drive safely.
Some of the factors that may play into the way your body processes alcohol include:
The Morning After
Be careful driving the next morning. Just because you’ve had a few hours of sleep, it doesn’t mean you’re ready to go, particularly if you drank a lot of alcohol the evening or night before.
Remember the one-hour rule: If you had 10 drinks (wine, beer, or hard alcohol, as measured above) in just three hours, and you’ve only had three hours of sleep, chances are, you’ll still be eligible for a DUI if you get pulled over. In this scenario, you would need at least ten hours to fully metabolize the alcohol. Three hours of drinking and three hours of sleep leaves you four hours short of driving home safely.
If you haven’t met your body’s metabolism timeframe, take yourself to breakfast, hydrate yourself with water or sports drinks, and wait it out. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
If you’re debating whether you’re over the legal limit, it’s always best to be safe and leave your car where you are. Grab an Uber, taxi, Lyft, or designated driver to avoid finding out the hard way that you shouldn’t have ordered that last glass of wine. The truth is, you can’t really know if you’re over the legal limit unless you’re taking a blood test or breathalyzer, so be safe, and don’t test your limits.
Contact Jon Artz today if you have been arrested for DUI in Los Angeles.