How long does it take for your BAC to drop?

Posted by Doug Murphy | Feb 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

For many, having a few drinks is a common part of socializing. Whether you are out at the bar or over at a friend's to watch a game, knocking back a few beers come with the territory. While a designated driver is the best option, some motorists decide to sober up long enough to “be fine to drive.” Unfortunately, many people over and under estimate the amount of time it can take for their body to absorb and metabolize the alcohol they have consumed. The end result is often an arrest for driving while intoxicated.

Estimating the amount of time you need to sober up is an inexact science. In fact, even the use of portable breathalyzers isn't trustworthy unless you are using a well-calibrated, professional-grade device.

Generally speaking, all alcohol will be eliminated in a blood alcohol concentration test within 12-24 hours, depending on the dosage amount.  While arranging a ride or waiting it out provides the safest options, not everyone is able or willing to do so.

Estimating Your BAC Drop

Your body immediately begins to metabolize alcohol from the moment you consume it. While a portion of that alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream and eventually sent to your brain, the majority of alcohol is digested in your stomach and sent to your liver. The amount of time it takes your liver to metabolize alcohol can vary. According to research, the mean estimate is that an average person's BAC will drop roughly .015 percent per hour after your BAC hits its peak.  This is the average, but I've never met an average person   Thus, your body eliminate at a much faster Or slower rate.   

Tracking the number of drinks you have per hour might not hurt. However, this estimate might give you a general idea of how long you need to sober up but it should never be relied upon. After all, these figures are just an average. For many people, the process of metabolizing alcohol can take far longer or far shorter.

Can eating food sober you up faster?

One common refrain is that food can help increase the speed in which you sober up. The digestive process does not work like that, unfortunately. It is true that food in your stomach at the time you consume a beverage could absorb some of the alcohol in the drink. However, once the alcohol has been absorbed into your bloodstream any food you add to your stomach will have little impact on your BAC.

Dealing with a DWI in Houston Texas

There are countless factors that go into determining how long it will take for your BAC to return to zero. From your body weight to how fast you consumed your drinks, all of these factors could cause your body to metabolize alcohol at a much slower rate than you might anticipate. Due to these unknown factors, estimating your BAC when making the determination of whether or not to drive can be a risky proposition.

If you are ultimately arrested for DWI despite your genuine belief you were above the legal limit, you are still not guaranteed a conviction. A test result showing an elevated BAC can be damaging to your case, but you might prevail at trial with the help of a Board Certified DWI expert.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


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