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Why a single drink could lead to a DUI charge

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Are you thinking about driving home after just one drink? Strict drinking and driving laws might make you reconsider. There are guidelines on what constitutes impaired driving, and even a single drink could potentially lead to a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. Understanding these laws is crucial.

Knowing can help you avoid unexpected legal trouble down the road.

Consider the BAC limit

Drunk driving laws are explicit. For anyone aged 21 or over, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher can lead to a legal impairment charge. This limit may seem lenient, but it could equate to roughly one standard drink, depending on factors such as body weight, metabolism rate and speed of consumption.

A standard drink typically contains 14 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. This amount can be present in various types of alcoholic beverages, such as a 12-ounce can of hard cider, a 5-ounce glass of champagne or a cocktail containing 1.5 ounces of hard liquor like rum or vodka.

However, keep in mind that everyone digests alcohol differently. Factors such as gender, age, body composition and even food intake can influence how quickly the body processes alcohol.

There’s no such thing as a ‘little sip’

The belief that one drink won’t affect driving ability is a misconception. Alcohol, even in small amounts, can impact judgment, slowing down the brain’s processing speed. Even a ‘little sip’ can put you over the legal limit and really increase the risk of an accident. This is why the law doesn’t differentiate between a ‘little sip’ and a ‘big gulp.’ The risk is there, regardless of the amount consumed.

One drink can land you in legal complications

If an officer pulls you over and detects the scent of alcohol, you may need to take a breath test. If your BAC is at or above the 0.08% limit, you could face a DUI charge. The consequences can be severe, potentially leading to penalties, license suspension or even jail time. This is when consulting with an attorney can be beneficial. They can assess your case, outline your options and represent your interests in court.

In states with tough DUI offenses, even if you’ve only had one drink, think twice before getting behind the wheel. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.