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How much alcohol can you drink before driving?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2021 | Drunk Driving

You might think you can drink a certain amount of alcohol and still be fine if the police stop you and Breathalyze you. However, being too sure of what “your limit” is could land you with a DUI ticket.

Breathalyzer tests measure your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the precise moment you blow into the machine. They do not measure how much alcohol you have drunk. Distinguishing between the two things is crucial.

Several factors can affect blood alcohol content

Your BAC can change. Having two glasses of craft beer at 4 p.m. today may not result in the same BAC reading as having two glasses of the same ale tomorrow. Here are some of the things that can affect your BAC:

  1. Food: When people tell you not to drink on an empty stomach, they do so with reason. Food in your stomach slows the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream.
  2. Body size: You may be OK with two beers, yet your petite wife may not. People with a higher body mass can process alcohol faster.
  3. Previous alcohol consumption: Two glasses of lager at 4 p.m. after drinking nothing but water and juice all day will result in a different reading to two glasses of lager at 4 pm after a champagne breakfast and a brandy with lunch. It takes time for all the alcohol to leave your system. Even what you drank the night before could affect you.

Understanding why a Breathalyzer reads higher than you expect is crucial to defending against DUI charges. If you cannot find a valid reason, it may be that the machine was reading wrong due to a lack of maintenance by the police.