Leaving a party “feeling” sober won’t protect against a DUI

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2023 | Blood Alcohol Tests

One of the most common explanations people give for why they choose to drive after drinking is that they don’t think they are over the legal limit. They may not realize how hard it is to actually estimate one’s level of impairment.

Alcohol affects people’s judgment, so those who have had too much to drink may not be able to tell that they are over the legal limit. It is common for people to underestimate their level of intoxication, which may lead to them getting arrested on their way home from a party or an evening out with friends. The state can charge someone with a driving under the influence (DUI) offense even if they don’t cause a crash but simply fail a breath test.

Someone may feel sober and could even perform a breath test showing that they are under the legal limit while at a party or establishment, only to get arrested on their way back home after they fail a breath test. How is it possible for someone to seem sober enough to drive when they leave a party or establishment and end up failing a test on the way home?

The body can’t absorb alcohol consumed all at once

Every drink that someone has adds more alcohol to their bloodstream, but many factors influence how quickly the alcohol starts affecting them and how rapidly their body metabolizes or breaks down that alcohol after they consume it. The more people consume at once, the more their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will rise even after they finish their drinks.

Many people experience a rising BAC for a half an hour or even longer after they finish drinking. Therefore, if someone leaves a bar or a party while seemingly sober, they could still fail a breath test a bit later if they recently finished a drink. It is of the utmost importance that people give their bodies time to absorb alcohol before testing themselves and time to break down the alcohol before driving.

Most experts recommend allowing at least one hour per drink before someone tries to drive a motor vehicle. Of course, not everyone arrested for a DUI offense is actually over the legal limit. Seeking legal guidance can help a recently arrested driver figure out what options they have for defending against impaired driving charges.

National College for DUI Defense | General Member

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