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Don't go on vacation and leave on probation

Charleston and its surrounding smaller towns remain a popular spring and Easter break vacation spot here in South Carolina. Often, students and families from the northern states where winter is still bringing snow and cold temperatures head south to sunnier climes to enjoy the beaches and sun.

However, problems can arise where those who are celebrating their time off from school and work throw caution to the wind and wind up breaking some South Carolina laws. Often, they get apprehended for driving under the influence (DUI).

The 4 most common DUI questions

It's common for those who are facing DUI charges to have many questions and concerns about the law. If this is your first time facing DUI charges, it's likely that you will be worried about the possibility of having a criminal record and not being able to drive for a long amount of time.

Therefore, it's important that you take the time to understand the law, and how you will stand the best chance of defending yourself. The following are the four most commonly asked questions regarding DUIs.

That drink might be misleading: Mixed drinks and alcohol

When you think about grabbing a drink, one thing you really need to remember is that that single drink might not be a single alcoholic beverage at all. The amount of alcohol in any mixed drink can vary depending on the mixture.

The standard drink size in the United States is five ounces of wine at 12% alcohol, a 1.5-ounce shot of 80-proof liquor or distilled spirits, eight ounces of 7% malt liquor or a normal 12-ounce can of beer with 5% alcohol content. Now, think about the last time you ordered a drink. Maybe you had a mixed drink that uses two shots of rum and a fruity mixer. Even if that drink is only 12 ounces in total, you're really looking at two alcoholic beverages, not just one.

If you get a DUI, it can lead to lasting consequences

You have heard time and time again that it's important to be sober when you're behind the wheel, but you don't personally know anyone who has ever been affected by a drunk driver. You and your friends tend to drive home when tipsy, and no one has ever had any trouble.

That was, until your latest late-night event. You decided to go drinking with your friends, and you drank a little more than usual. Still, you needed to get home, and coming back to get your car tomorrow would have been a hassle. So, you decided to drive home.

Caught driving drunk? It can have a real impact on your life

It was a tough week at work, and your personal life wasn't as good as you'd hoped it would be. You were in an argument with a girl you just started dating, and you felt like you just needed a break from everything. So, to make things easier on yourself, you hopped on your motorcycle and headed down to your local bar. It's no more than two miles from your home, so the idea that you could be stopped for drunk driving never crossed your mind.

Of course, you didn't plan to be so intoxicated that you couldn't drive home, and you expected that the bartender would say something if you did get too drunk. Unfortunately, the way things worked out was that you ended up on your motorcycle when you drove straight through a red light on the way back home. A cop happened to be out, since it was late at night, and they saw you run it. Not long after that, you found yourself arrested and on the way to the police station for drunk driving.

Failed a field sobriety test? It may not be accurate

When you were stopped by an officer, he asked you for a breath sample. You took the Breathalyzer test, which came back at .06%. By law, you weren't over the per-se limit, but you did, allegedly, seem impaired.

The officer decided to have you perform field sobriety tests, because he would need to collect more evidence to arrest you. Not surprisingly, he told you that you failed.

Common items can contain alcohol: Be careful and avoid a DUI

A DUI is a serious charge and one that most people want to avoid. What's interesting about them is that some people have faced DUIs when they didn't ever have a physical alcoholic beverage. How? There are plenty of items that contain alcohol that can build up in your system, some of which are quite unexpected.

One of the primary sources of unexpected alcohol is in the food that you eat. If you're not cooking it yourself, you don't always know what goes into a dish. A recipe that calls for a wine reduction, for example, can actually contain a lot of alcohol. The amount of alcohol that is left after making a sauce or baking all depends on when it was added and at what temperature it was cooked, boiled or otherwise heated.

Driving drunk: A danger to yourself and others

Drunk driving is a real problem on the roads in America. Whether it's teens who have had too much to drink secretly or a group of college students trying to drive home after having one too many, driving after drinking can lead to serious consequences. Every day, there are dozens of people killed in drunk driving crashes. Approximately one person dies every 50 minutes, resulting in over 10,000 deaths each year.

In 2018, there were 10,511 deaths caused by drunk driving in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Those deaths made up 29% of all deaths from car crashes.

Just using a personal breath test won't save you from a DUI

If you are someone who enjoys alcoholic beverages, whether you enjoy sharing an IPA with your friends after a long day at work or have developed a taste for sipping artisanal whiskeys, you need to make sure you are particularly careful if you get behind the wheel after enjoying one of your favorite drinks.

Knowing when you are safe to drive and when you definitely are not is difficult even in the best circumstances. Our brains have a way of convincing us that the alcohol hasn't affected us as much as it really does. In other words, it's not a very good idea to rely solely on your own analysis of your cognitive state when trying to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol or not.

How alcohol impacts driving at different BAC levels

From your first drink, alcohol can impact your ability to drive. It gets more pronounced the more you have, which is why there is a legal limit of 0.08%. But it can have an impact below that, and it's also important to understand how your ability changes the farther over the limit you go.

Now, everyone is different. Some people handle their alcohol better than others. Those who drink more often may function at a higher level even with a higher BAC. People also reach those higher BAC numbers after different amounts of drinks. For instance, a 250-pound man would not see the same increase as a 90-pound woman after taking a shot.

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