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Driving Home After Drinking: Waiting It Out at the Bar or Party

 Posted on October 10, 2022 in Uncategorized

Beware Rules of Thumb for Alcohol Absorption

So, you've had some alcohol to drink at the bar or party. Does waiting it out before driving home make any sense? You'll hear the rules of thumb for how quickly a body absorbs and dissipates alcohol. Those guidelines include things like "wait one hour per drink" or "wait four hours after the last drink before driving." But rules of thumb are, at best, a very rough guide. In any one case, those guides can be grossly inaccurate. Think of all you have riding on a DWI charge, things like your freedom and finances, not to mention collateral consequences like your job or business, career, child custody, and reputation. Do you really want to risk a DWI charge by following a rough guide? Determining an accurate blood alcohol content is problematic even with decent equipment, so don't trust a rough rule of thumb. The better approach is not to rely on rough guides or rules of thumb if you think any possibility exists that you may have imbibed over the legal limit. If you face a Texas DWI charge, retain DWI Specialist attorney Doug Murphy for your aggressive and effective defense.

Too Many Factors Determine Alcohol Absorption

Multiple factors determine how much alcohol the blood absorbs and how quickly it absorbs it. The blood can show alcohol absorption within just a few minutes, while peak absorption can take from forty to sixty minutes, after which alcohol content may slowly taper off. But again, those estimates are just very rough guides, when what is going on in your body may differ markedly depending on a surprisingly wide range of factors. The National Library of Medicine offers an article on the ABCs of alcohol in the body, listing absorption factors including:

  • The drinker's sex
  • The drinker's body size and build
  • If the drinker is a woman, the menstrual cycle phase
  • The drinker's previous exposure to alcohol
  • The type of drink, including its alcohol concentration
  • The quantity of the drink
  • Whether the drinker drank with food or other liquids
  • Whether the drinker was under the influence of drugs

Other factors can include the rate at which you drink, your fatigue level, and even the altitude at which you drink. And applying these factors isn't straightforward or simple. The National Library of Medicine article illustrates how subtly the factors can work. You might, for instance, assume that the higher the alcohol concentration in the drink, the higher your blood alcohol. But that's not necessarily the case. Depending on gastric contents, the blood may absorb alcohol from drinks with a 20% to 30% alcohol concentration in the middle, like sherry, more quickly than drinks with a lower 3% to 8% alcohol concentration, like beer, or higher 40% concentration, like mixed drinks. Given the large number of factors and their complex interaction, any rule of thumb is likely to be inaccurate in many instances.

Don't Trust Your Intuition or Myths

Once you begin to drink alcohol, whether at a party or a bar, you really have no sure way of knowing how fast you will reach the.08 legal limit (.04 for CDL drivers) or how long you must wait after you may have exceeded that limit. A two-drink limit isn't a reliable rule. Nor is waiting two, three, or four hours after drinking what you suspect may have been enough to put you over the limit. Depending on the above factors, especially the quantity of alcohol imbibed, you could still be impaired the next morning. And don't trust how you feel, either. Just because you don't feel tipsy or inebriated doesn't mean your blood alcohol is below the legal limit. Many drinkers, especially habitual drinkers, can hold their alcohol quite well, reaching well beyond the legal limit before feeling the alcohol's effects. You might feel perfectly sober but still be well over the legal limit. Reliable health summaries indicate that you have no way of speeding up the process of lowering your blood alcohol. You may be able to do any number of things to reduce your hangover so that you may appear more sober. But those things won't change your blood alcohol content.

Avoid Relying on Portable Breathalyzer Tests

Waiting to sober up can be frustrating and embarrassing. But don't try the shortcut of using a pocket breathalyzer or similar quick-and-easy sobriety test. Portable breathalyzers are generally not accurate enough to rely on their results. Breathalyzers are very sensitive devices. Small changes in the calibration of the device or the conditions under which one uses it can produce wide variations in the results. Your portable breathalyzer might say you're fine to drive when, in fact, you are not. A police portable breathalyzer or a blood draw at the hospital might produce very different results, enough to lead to a DWI charge. The officer who pulls you over won't be interested in the results you share from having used your own device. And those results won't generally be admissible in court as a defense. Don't rely on a portable breathalyzer test that could easily mislead you into a situation where you face a DWI charge.

Retain a Premier Houston DWI Defense Attorney

You really have no fail-safe method of ensuring that your blood alcohol content does not exceed the legal limit other than by not drinking and driving. Waiting it out isn't a reliable option. The most reliable thing you can do when facing a DWI charge is to retain premier Houston DWI defense attorney Doug Murphy. Attorney Murphy is not only a DWI Specialist but also one of only two Texas criminal defense attorneys to hold both DWI Board Certification and Criminal Law Certification. Attorney Murphy is also US News & World Report's Best Lawyers in America 2021 Lawyer of the Year for DWI defense. Retain attorney Doug Murphy for your aggressive and effective defense.

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