The longer and more stressful your day at work has been, the more likely you are to look forward to the end of your shift. Many people will stop off at their favorite local watering hole on their way home just to release some of their work-related stress or to catch a few minutes of an afternoon game on a big-screen TV.
If your work was particularly demanding, however, even one drink could put you at risk of getting stopped and arrested for driving under the influence. Those who didn’t have time for a lunch break may need to bypass happy hour.
Drinking on an empty stomach can be more dangerous
There is a reason that many bars serve snacks for their patrons. People simply can’t consume as much alcohol when they don’t have any food in their stomachs. Food helps absorb some of the alcohol that you consume and also delays the process of it reaching your bloodstream.
If there is nothing in your stomach when you start drinking a cocktail or an IPA, you will likely feel the impact of that alcohol much more quickly. It may also seem stronger than usual. Those sensations aren’t just in your head.
Any chemical test that you take shortly after finishing your drink will likely reflect a higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) than you would have for the same drink enjoyed after a meal. Especially if you end up leaving shortly after your drink, you may have a BAC that is over the legal limit in spite of consuming what you think is a safe amount of alcohol.
Identifying risk factors can help you avoid charges
Simply counting how many drinks you have won’t be enough for you to completely avoid criminal charges. You also have to consider other factors that may increase your impairment and therefore also your risk of a police officer pulling you over because they suspect chemical impairment.
No matter how frequently you drink, little changes to your routine could significantly increase the likelihood that you will accidentally get behind the wheel when your BAC is higher than it should be. In addition to drinking on an empty stomach, other choices that increase your risk of a DUI charge include changing your beverage of choice and drinking at a different bar than usual, as staff may make the drinks stronger than you expect.
Being proactive about the identification and minimization of certain risk factors will help you avoid mistakes that could lead to unexpected DUI charges.