Believe it or not, there was a time – not all that long ago – when driving under the influence (DUI) wasn’t considered to be a very serious crime unless someone was injured. In fact, law enforcement officers would often let people off with a warning and judges routinely gave first offenders the proverbial “slap on the wrist.” Those days are long gone though. Today, even a first-offender with no criminal history and who did not cause an accident could be sentenced to jail time. Moreover, a DUI conviction can have significant negative ramifications for years to come for the defendant. With all that in mind, it is no surprise that most people are now hyper-aware of how close they are to the dreaded “0.08” number. How much can you drink before reaching a 0.08 percent BAC level? A Sarpy County DUI lawyer offers some insight and guidelines to the frequently asked question: “How much can I drink before I’m over the limit?”
There Is No Accurate Formula
The first — and most important — thing everyone needs to understand when it comes to gauging how close they are to the legal limit is that there simply is no accurate formula you can depend on to tell you your BAC level. You may have read articles that purport to provide charts or formulas based on your gender and/or weight that tell you what your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is after consuming “X” number of alcoholic drinks; however, relying on those articles is an excellent way to end up in jail and charged with a DUI. Likewise, there are numerous apps for your cell phone that also claim to be able to provide you with your current BAC level if you keep track of how many drinks you have. Once again, these apps have a wide range of accuracy results under controlled conditions. They may consumers use them is a far cry from a controlled environment, making them even less accurate most of the time. Consequently, it is in your best interest to not rely too heavily on any of these “formulas” when trying to decide how close you are to the legal limit.
When viewed as guidelines – and only guidelines – there are some factors worth noting and referring to when trying to determine how close you are to the dreaded 0.08 line. For example, a petite woman (150 pounds or less) is usually hovering near the line after drinking just one drink within an hour and over the line after two drinks. A larger woman may be able to handle two drinks during that same time span before crossing over the line. A man, on the other hand, can usually handle two to three drinks before getting close to the line if he is average size and three to four drinks in an hour if he is a larger man (over 200 pounds).
The problem with using such sweeping generalities is that there are numerous factors that can impact how alcohol metabolizes in an individual’s system. Some of those factors can have a dramatic impact on the individual’s BAC level. One of the most obvious factors is who is pouring the drinks. No one takes the time to measure exactly five ounces of wine when serving a glass of wine. Likewise, when a bartender is mixing drinks – or even pouring straight shots – he/she does not take the time to measure exactly 1.5 ounces of liquor, yet that is what those guidelines presume when they tell you how many drinks you can consume in an hour. Another huge factor is what and when you last ate and your overall metabolism. Food can effectively absorb some of the alcohol you drink, thereby affecting the rate at which your body metabolizes that alcohol. Medications, even over the counter medication, can also affect your BAC level as can various chronic and acute medical conditions. Ultimately, there are so many factors that can impact the metabolism of alcohol within your body that relying on general guidelines or charts is dangerous.
It is possible to purchase a handheld “mini-breath test” machine that will test your breath and provide you with a BAC level. While this is probably the closest you will get to an accurate BAC level reading, there are still a number of factors that can affect the accuracy of even this reading, starting with user error.
Instead of relying on any of these methods for determining how much you can drink before you are over the legal limit, the best rule to follow is to not get behind the wheel after consuming any alcohol. Hand the keys to a designated driver, call a cab, or download the Uber or Lyft app. If you do drive, and you end up under arrest, do not admit anything and contact an experienced Sarpy County DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact a Sarpy County DUI Lawyer
If you were recently arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Nebraska, contact a Sarpy County DUI lawyer at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer.