Drunk driving is a serious offense with far-reaching legal and personal consequences. For this reason, most people know better not to drink and drive.
If you’ve been out drinking, however, how do you know when it’s safe to drive again? How long does it take for the body to get rid of alcohol? Well, the answer to either question depends on a number of factors.
Why alcohol in your system matters
If the police have reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence, they will stop you for a DUI investigation. Under Maryland laws, if your blood alcohol content (BAC) level exceeds 0.08, you are automatically considered legally drunk. Here are two factors that may determine how long alcohol will remain in your system:
1. Your age
Older people generally take longer to break down alcohol in their system. This increases the duration of intoxication. Your metabolic level is also determined by your age, and this contributes to your BAC level.
2. Your gender
Due to differences in physiological factors, men and women metabolize alcohol differently. Women, for instance, have a lower body fat-to-muscle ratio than men. As such, alcohol tends to stay longer in women’s systems. Also, women have lower levels of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, the enzyme that is responsible for breaking down alcohol.
While alcohol is metabolized at a constant rate, some people experience the effects much longer. If you are charged with drunk driving, knowing your defense options can go a long way toward ensuring that you safeguard your rights and interests.