How Many Drinks Does it Take to Get a DUII?

Not many! One large margarita might push some past the legal threshold. Obviously, there are a number of factors that contribute to and affect blood alcohol content (BAC), not to mention different laws in different states.

The penalties for a Fresno DUI are severe, but a DUI in Montana is less serious in eyes of the law. The general “rule” is one drink equals about .02% BAC. One ”drink“ could be a shot of distilled spirits, a glass of wine, or a 12-ounce beer. In technical terms, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regards these each to contain a volume of .54 ounces of alcohol.

Factors That Contribute to an Increase in BAC

How quickly the blood alcohol level rises in the body is influenced by:

  • The number of drinks per hour. Your blood alcohol level steadily increases as you increase the number of drinks per hour.
  • The strength of alcohol (proof or percentage) in the drink.
  • Your weight. The more you weigh, the more water is present in your body, which dilutes the alcohol and lowers the blood alcohol level.
  • Your sex. Women’s bodies usually have less water and more fat than men’s bodies. Alcohol does not go into fat cells as well as other cells, so women tend to retain more alcohol in their blood than men do. Also, a woman’s hormones may impact levels.
  • Your age. One drink raises the blood alcohol level of an older adult 20% more than it does for a young adult.
  • The presence of food in your stomach. Food in the stomach can help absorb alcohol. The blood alcohol level will be higher if you do not eat before or during drinking.
  • The kind of mixer used. Carbonated mixers (e.g. tonic water or club soda) can aid the body’s absorption of alcohol.
  • Other medications or drugs. Medications, such as antihistamines or sedatives (tranquilizers), may increase the effects of alcohol. Also, a person who uses other drugs, such as marijuana, will feel the effects of both drugs more than if the drugs were used separately.
Rob Crow
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Licensed to practice law in all State & Federal Courts in Oregon.
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