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Can I drive after a mixed drink?

Just how much alcohol can you consume before operating a motor vehicle?

Man Driving Drunk

Have you ever thought to yourself, «am I okay to drive after having these drinks?» If you’ve ever asked yourself this, the answer is probably no. So just how much alcohol can you consume before operating a motor vehicle? Nobody can answer this question but yourself.

Factors that determine alcohol breakdown

Everybody is different in how alcohol breaks down in their system. For some, one drink can be enough to impair your ability to drive. It also depends on factors such as what you have eaten or what you’re drinking. You can use an alcohol calculator such as this one if you’re ever questioning what you’ve just consumed.

Here’s why you may not even want to ever rely on a calculator as such. While you can see that you can safely consume two beers in an hour and still drive, if you get something such as a draft beer instead of a 12oz bottle, now you’re having more than two. Craft beer can also have a higher alcohol content as opposed to a drink such as Budlight. Soon your two beers can be equivalent to 4 beers. When you get a mixed drink at the bar, the bartender rarely perfectly measures your drinks down to the oz. A handle pour can be much more than exactly one shot of whiskey. Due to inconsistencies measuring alcohol can be close to impossible when it comes to judging your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Even if you followed measurements to the tee, alcohol affects everybody in different ways.

Self-assessment signs of intoxication

​If you’re questioning in you’re too drunk to drive, look out for things such as:

  • poor coordination
  • slurred speech or deliberate speech
  • hand tremors
  • changes in facial skin color and/or bloodshot eyes
  • a decrease in sensory perception
  • changes in behavior such as exaggerated gaiety, loud singing/talking, flirting, outrageous language, aggressiveness, etc.

What happens if you blow under the legal limit?

Believe it or not, if you blow under the legal limit, you can still be guilty of a DUI. Many think if you blow below .08, you are in the clear. While this is the legal measurable limit, if you blow over you are presumed guilty. If you blow under, you are not presumed guilty, but the state can still show that alcohol affected your driving ability in some way. For example, if you’re in an accident or found to be weaving around the road and did field sobriety exercises, your breath sample of .07 can still show that the alcohol affected your driving ability leading to a DUI. It’s a hard case but does happen from time to time. Never assume that even if you have a «safe» amount of alcohol and drive that the officer will not make you do a field sobriety exercise or even arrest you.

If you want to know more about DUI law, download our guide ‘What You MUST Know About Your DUI Case Before You Do ANYTHING’ for free on our website or give us a call at (561) 671-5995.

Can I Drive After One Glass of Wine?

Can I Drive After One Glass of Wine - Drunk Driving Accident - Law Offices of Pius Joseph - Personal Injury Attorney

Many people have the false impression that driving after one drink is OK. The truth is that even one glass of wine can make you legally drunk. Many factors affect a person’s tolerance for alcohol. The number of drinks consumed is only one of them.

For example, a joint study by Cornell and Iowa State universities found that the size and shape of a glass can affect how much people pour in various circumstances. Every participant was asked to pour the same amount of wine each time regardless of the setting. No one could do it. They poured 12 percent more wine into a wide glass compared to a narrow one. They also tended to pour more wine when the drinker was holding the glass versus having it on the table. As the lead author put it, “One person’s two is totally different from another person’s two.”

The individual physical characteristics of a person’s body also affects tolerance, including their body mass index (BMI), weight, the alcohol content of the drink, how much alcohol is consumed over a certain timeframe, and even the setting where the drinking occurred.

All of this means that California drivers need to be especially cautious no matter how much they drink. One glass of chardonnay could be all it takes to cause a deadly drunk driving crash.

What is the Legal Driving Limit in California?

In California, it’s legal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or less. The legal limit is lower for commercial drivers, taxi, rideshare, and limousine drivers, as well as underage drivers.

But what constitutes drunk driving is not just a numbers game under California DUI law. A person whose driving is noticeably impaired can still be charged with driving under the influence, even if their BAC is not over the legal limit.

Could You Drive After One Drink?

Whether a person can drive after one drink depends on the individual. The alcohol content of the beverage is an important factor. One glass of wine has more than double the alcohol content of the average beer (11.6 percent vs. 4.5 percent). In other words, having one glass of wine could be the equivalent of drinking about two-and-a-half beers, depending on the size and type of the drink.

The size, weight, and metabolism of the drinker also play a role. Larger people tend to be able to drink more. How much he or she has eaten before and while drinking is another. Even uncontrollable factors such as ethnicity can contribute to a person’s tolerance.

In addition, exposure to sun and heat can make a difference. Alcohol is dehydrating, which can be made worse in hot conditions where people are also sweating, such as at the beach.

What to Do If You’ve Been Injured by a Drunk Driver

If you were hurt in a drunk driving car accident in Pasadena, protecting your health and legal rights is essential. You should:

  • Seek immediate medical treatment. Drunk driving accidents frequently result in serious and fatal injuries.
  • Call law enforcement. A police report documents that a DUI crash occurred, and hopefully, can pull a drunk driver off the road before he or she hurts someone else.
  • Collect evidence. If you are able, take photos of the accident scene, exchange information with the impaired driver, get contact information for any witnesses, and take pictures of any evidence of drunkenness, such as open alcohol containers in the car.
  • Call a drunk driving accident lawyer. An experienced DUI attorney can build a strong claim for financial compensation against the drunk driver to account for your medical expenses and other losses.

Contact Our Drunk Driving Injury Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Pius Joseph – Personal Injury Attorney, we know how devastating a drunk driving crash can be. We’re here to fight for the compensation you are owed. Call or contact our Pasadena personal injury law firm now for a free consultation.

Is it Okay to Drive After Only Two Drinks?

Is it Okay to Drive After Only Two Drinks - Sand Law PLLC North Dakota DUI DWI Criminal Defense Attorney

Oftentimes when people go out drinking, they question how many drinks they can have before it’s still a good idea to drive home. The answer to this question of whether or not you can drive home after two alcoholic beverages isn’t cut and dry.

Each person’s body is different. Therefore, the amount of alcohol a person can safely consume before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle varies, depending on a few factors.

Some people believe that you shouldn’t get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve had anything to drink. And others believe it’s okay to have one or even two drinks before driving yourself (or others) home. Frankly, it’s much more complicated than this.

How Much Can I Drink Before It’s Illegal to Drive?

The amount of alcohol you can consume before it’s illegal to drive depends on many different factors, which we’ll go over in the next section. Without thinking about the number of drinks or your specific body weight and how other factors play into your ability to get drunk, it’s important to remember what the laws are regarding drunk driving.

In North Dakota, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over .08%. The higher your blood alcohol concentration gets, the higher the fines and jail time are. For example, if you’re arrested with a BAC of .16% or over on your first offense, you’ll incur a fine of $750 and two days of imprisonment. A BAC above .08% but less than .16% carries a fine of $500 and zero jail time.

Factors that Influence How Intoxicated You Are

As previously stated, alcohol affects everyone differently based on a variety of different factors. Those factors include:

How Quickly You Drink

If you drink two drinks quickly and then attempt to drive home, your BAC will be much higher than someone who has had two drinks over the course of a few hours. When someone drinks quickly, the liver is unable to keep the pace. This means that more alcohol will circulate in the bloodstream until the liver is able to keep up.

Height and Weight

The taller you are and the more you weigh play heavily into how quickly you get drunk after consuming alcohol. A smaller person has much less blood, meaning their BAC will be higher after drinking less than someone who is taller or weighs more. Someone who weighs more has much more blood. And it will take more alcohol to increase their BAC.

Whether or Not You’re On Medication

There are some types of medication that, when mixed with alcohol, lead to a higher BAC. This includes most antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antihistamines, and many other classes of drugs. These drugs not only make you drunk faster. But they can also be incredibly dangerous to mix with alcohol.

How Often You Drink

If you drink more frequently, you can build up a tolerance to some of the side effects of being intoxicated. This can make it seem like you aren’t as drunk as you are. However, this doesn’t mean that your BAC is lower than average. Even if you have a high tolerance, you should take caution when drinking and driving. Just because you don’t feel drunk when getting behind the wheel of a car doesn’t mean you aren’t.

Whether or Not You’ve Eaten

If you haven’t eaten all day, getting behind the wheel after two drinks is probably not a good idea. When you don’t eat before drinking, you get drunker much faster. And the liver isn’t able to keep up with the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. This can result in a higher than average BAC. If you’ve eaten recently, your body will be able to faster metabolize the alcohol, meaning you won’t get drunk as quickly, and your BAC will be lower.

So, Can I Drive After Two Drinks?

With that information in mind, it’s important to remember that it can still be difficult to tell whether or not two drinks are too many. Before getting behind the wheel of a car, you should be confident in your ability to drive safely. If you don’t feel that that is possible after two drinks, don’t do it.

What to do if you are Charged With a DUI

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, you should consider hiring a DUI defense attorney to represent your case. Aside from ensuring that your rights as a defendant are protected, we will advocate on your behalf for the best outcome. In some cases, we’ve even been able to get a case thrown out completely. If your case isn’t thrown out, an attorney can help ensure that you get the lowest sentencing possible for your DWI offense.

For more information or to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney, please contact our experienced team of attorneys at Sand Law. You can contact us online or at 701-609-1510.

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