You know how dangerous drinking and driving is, and you are very responsible about taking an Uber or letting someone else drive if you think you are too intoxicated to get behind the wheel. However, if you regularly drive after having a couple of drinks with dinner, it could be just a matter of time before you are pulled over and charged with a DUI.
The measure the state uses to determine intoxication does not necessarily reflect your perception of your ability to safely operate a vehicle. As a DUI defense attorney, Coy Browning wants everyone to be aware of what the state considers to be drunk driving so that you can make smart decisions when you have been drinking.
It Only Takes a Couple of Drinks to Reach a .08 BAC
In Florida, and across the rest of the country, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher is considered legally impaired for driving a vehicle. BAC is the percentage of alcohol in your bloodstream at the time you take a sobriety test. As you can see in the charts on this page, the number of drinks it takes to get to a particular BAC depends on your gender, weight, and how quickly you are consuming drinks.
Drink Chart for Men
Drink Chart for Women
It is important to understand the following:
- The type of alcohol you drink does not matter. A 12-ounce beer, 1.5 ounce shot of distilled spirits, and a 5-ounce glass of wine all affect the body in the same way.
- The average woman will likely be unable to drive legally after having just two drinks in a one-hour period.
- The average man will reach a .08 percent BAC after he has had three drinks in an hour.
- Food slows the absorption of alcohol, so if you are not drinking with a meal, you will reach a higher BAC more quickly.
While these charts are a good general guideline, every individual reacts differently to alcohol. The chart doesn't take into account your individual body composition, your use of medication, your mood changes, or your personal metabolism rate. Therefore, your blood alcohol level may, in fact, be slightly higher or slightly lower than the chart indicates for the number of drinks you consume.
Can You Dispute a BAC Test?
Many people who are charged with DUI thought they were sober enough to drive. The police must hear the excuse “I only had wine with dinner” a hundred times a month.
Excuses will get you nowhere, but there are ways to fight a DUI charge, particularly when a breathalyzer test is used in the field. A breathalyzer doesn’t actually measure the amount of alcohol in your blood. Instead, it detects alcohol on your breath and, based on previously established statistics, determines the typical BAC for someone with that amount of alcohol on their breath.
Breathalyzer results may be challenged in court based on the following:
- Mechanical failure. Breathalyzers are sensitive devices and must be cleaned and maintained regularly to remain accurate. Your defense attorney can request the maintenance records for the device used to test you.
- Improper calibration. Each breathalyzer device must be checked and adjusted for accuracy on a regular basis. This is done by comparing the results generated by the machine against a known value and is called calibration. Your attorney can inspect the calibration record for the device used in your case.
- Human error. The operator of the device must be properly trained and must follow specific protocols when administering the test. Any variance from the proper handling and testing protocols could call the accuracy of the test into question.
There are additional possible ways to fight a drunk driving charge, and your defense attorney will look at your case and develop the best possible defense.
How We Can Help
You might have just had a couple of drinks with dinner, but your BAC test tells a different story. To protect yourself from the extreme penalties imposed in Florida for drunk driving, you must contact a DUI defense attorney.
Browning Law Firm protects the rights of those accused of DUI in Florida. When you contact us, we will assess your situation and offer a plan for defending you. Don’t let a one-time mistake—or a chronic problem—affect your and your family’s future. Take action to protect your rights today.